The Sweetness of Lent

I’ve never honored Lent before.  Shoot, you’re going to take away one of my Christian cards, aren’t you?  Darn. I was already down to so few.

Every year I kick around the idea of Lent.  And every year that’s all I do-kick it around and leave it for dead.

This morning, at our classroom morning meeting, where we take care of Very Important Business like ‘Look at the New Tooth Hole in My Smile’ and ‘Check Out My New Fast Shoes’, one of my little ones raised his hand.  This kid is one of my favorite people on the planet.  He keeps me on my toes and always, always has something interesting to contribute.  I called on him, expecting a question about our day or a comment about the reading program we’ve just started.

But no, this kid is never what I expect.  That might be what I love most about him.

“I decided I’m giving up playing video games for forty days.” he smiled.

“Oh, for Lent?” I raised my eyebrows in surprise.  After all, this kid eats, breathes and speaks video games.

“Yep.” he nodded.  “What are you giving up for Lent, Mrs. McCauley?” he asked, his innocent eyes piercing right through my sooty, sinful soul.

“Well, I haven’t decided yet.  I’m thinking of giving up watching tv or eating candy.”  I admitted.

He shook his head at me, completely disappointed that I hadn’t decided yet.  “You should give up candy.”

“Why’s that?” I asked, intrigued by what led him to choose one over the other.

“Because candy is bad for you and God is good for you.” He shrugged like this very basic knowledge really shouldn’t have eluded me.

And I couldn’t argue with his rationale.  God is good for me.  Candy is bad for me.  Simple as that.  I thought about our conversation all day and into the evening.

And I thought about candy.

I loooooove candy.  It’s my favorite food group.  I dream in candy.  Especially Easter candy.  Just the thought of Mini Eggs sends me into a euphoric state.  Mmmmm, Mini Eggs.

Wait, where was I?

Oh, dear God, I remember.  Giving up candy for Lent.

I thought about the times I tend to eat candy.  I usually eat candy after a stressful day.  If I’m honest with myself, I also eat candy when I’m lonely.  How much better would God’s presence be in those times of stress and loneliness?  Much better.  And much better for me.  Good for me even.

And so tomorrow begins my Lent sans candy.  Not a harsh religious Lent as depicted in Chocolat, but a Lent wherein I give up candy in pursuit of the sweetness of God.

And when I have the opportunity to eat candy, I’ll instead think on this:

How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103

So, dear friends, however you celebrate the Lenten season, I hope you find yourself overcome with sweetness.

P.S. Do yourself a favor and give me a wide berth for the next forty or so days cause I have a feeling it isn’t going to be easy and it sure isn’t going to be pretty.  When I stop to think about it, I wouldn’t want it any other way.