I have not stepped into a church and meant it in quite awhile. Sure family obligations and a short bout of Christian guilt had placed me in some sort of brick and mortar 'House of God'. I was there. My heart wasn't. I don't have a bad relationship with God. I have a very private relationship with God. It is not a "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" kind of relationship. It's a sitting in a quiet room, reflecting on my life and the good and bad and how I can work to make it better kind of relationship. I don't talk about God a lot. I think about God a lot.
This time of year a slow seeping guilt finds me. I think about my youth and all the candy I said I would give up and all the candy I never gave up. I think about all the rosary decades I had to say kneeling in the living room, not before we fought over who would get the 'glow-in-the-dark' rosary. Mostly I think about kneeling in the church kneelers trying to keep my butt from resting on the pew. If your butt rested on the pew as you were kneeling you were a bad Catholic.
I never liked Lent. Not because I had to 'give up' something. I never like Lent because it was depressing. It was like we were forced to not be happy. The less happy you were the better person you are. It's so depressing. Isn't life depressing enough.
I would have to give up the one thing as a kid that I loved, candy, and I hated it. I'd last a few days and then I would search all over the house for any sort of change and would take a walk to the corner candy store. We had a corner candy store that sold all kinds of candy, it was two blocks from the Catholic church I kneeled in and went to school in. I'm guess they made a killing during lent.
The things you give up our the things you want the most, and contrary to popular belief it isn't the devil tempting you it's your mind craving the routine or the sugar. We are creatures of habit and if we break a habit our bodies demands it. Our body wants the satisfying norm we have created for it.
I have decided for Lent this year that I am 'Giving Up' on the 'Giving Up.' Instead I have decided to give more. Give more time for myself and my family. To try harder to be a better person and better citizen of this world. To stop demanding and start thanking.
I know there will always be a piece of me that will hold on to the ideas of this time of year. To take a moment and reflect on what was given to me, for me and for the people I love. I will hold on a little more. Give up a little less. Give a little more