The last two years, I have had high hopes for the Lenten season. In 2014, I gave up Facebook for Lent and planned to read books by two Christian theologians while giving up crime fiction. In 2015, I once again gave up Facebook and crime fiction for Lent and planned to read four nonfiction books instead. I succeeded on the Facebook and crime fiction front for the most part both years, but failed on what I planned to read: none of the theologians and only one of the nonfiction books.
This year I am setting my Lenten reading goals a lot more realistically: One book. That book is Being Mortal by Atul Gawande, which I plan read on the Sundays of Lent starting today. Likewise with my other Lenten goals, I am setting them more realistically with two additions and two subtractions:
- Church every Sunday morning with my wife and stations of the Cross with her also, at our church every Tuesday at noon as we both have off work early Tuesday afternoon.
- Giving up wings and soda for the rest of Lent. When you give up something for Lent, it is meant to be a true sacrifice and as those of you who follow me on social media know, I love me some wings, and the soda is something that I need to drink less of anyway. I say the rest of Lent starting tomorrow, because I did have wings on Friday and plan on having a little soda today.
Also in the interest of full disclosure, my wife and I are skipping church this morning because with the wind chills, our temperatures are in the negatives (Fahrenheit). While some of you in the Midwest might be accustomed to that regularly, here in northern Pennsylvania, especially in what has been a very mild winter up until now, we are not. Plus I worked yesterday and my wife, as a 911 dispatcher, has had a trying week so we both feel like staying in today. We will start our Lenten spiritual goals on Tuesday.
Whether or not you are a Christian, I encourage you to join me for the next 40 days. Find one book that you’ve been wanting to read, especially a nonfiction book. Give up at least one thing from your routine and add at least one thing to it. As is becoming my motto this year, “It’s all good,” and so I believe it is all good to practice self-sacrifice and self- once in a while.
If you are a Christian and practice Lent, what are your plans for the season? Whether you are or not, what is one thing that you could add to your life and one thing that you could take away that would be to your benefit, even if in the short term?
In case you missed it, on Wednesday, I talked about removing the hooks in my (and your) life, and on Friday, I answered 20 bookish questions that you can feel free to answer on your own blog or in the comments of that post, if you’d like.