Tuesday, April 5, 2011

46 Days and 46 Nights

How many days is Lent? This may be a trick question. Many people consider Lent to be forty days. (Hence the title of the movie 40 Days and 40 Nights.) But a look at the calendar shows it's actually 46 days between Good Friday and Easter. Why is this?

I learned in fifth grade CCD that the Sundays during Lent don't really count. In fact, we were taught that no matter what we gave up for Lent, on Sundays we were allowed to freely indulge with zero spiritual consequences.

At the time I thought this was a fantastic loophole. I gave up Oreos that year, and I think I ate more Oreos those six weeks than ever. The following year I gave up touching myself. I didn't even make it to my first loophole.

The diet this year is actually pretty easy. The food is good and I'm finding 1700 calories to be perfectly satisfying. When I do have cravings, I know it's not hunger but usually boredom or anxiety. Unfortunately this year I also committed to giving up my usual cure for boredom and anxiety: booze.

This I'm having a harder time with. I've given up alcohol for Lent a half dozen times before and only once did I make it all the way to Easter. Often, my downfall was the loopholes. In my mind, a loophole only serves to call the entire effort into question. What kind of real sacrifice comes with loopholes? Enjoying a drink out with friends once a week would not be a sacrifice... it would be a slightly sub-average week.

But yesterday was a beautiful Sunday, and I live in a neighborhood that has a lively social scene. Walking past the crowded outdoor patios reminded me how much I missed hanging out with my friends over beers and cocktails. And how I tend to be less shy and more charmingly flirtatious when I drink. (At least in my own mind. But I enjoy being charming and flirtatious there as much as anywhere.)

So I grabbed JB and went for a hike up Stone Mountain. On the way up, I thought how nice a cold beer would taste after the strenuous climb. And I thought about the loophole. Then I got a sign...

I guess if you carry your cross a mile up a steep
hill, you can be excused for not following
through with the rest of the passion play.
I know it wasn't really Jesus. But I enjoyed my usual diet root beer when I got home.


  1. Well done you! Proud of you for sticking to the harder path. It'll all be worth it, I'm sure.

  2. WWJW? What would Jebus wear? Nike shower sandals.

  3. I'll drink for the both of us. No worries, as a fallen catholic, I'm happy to take up any vice you like on your behalf.

    What can I say? I'm a giver.


  4. I didn't know that Jesus wore board shorts in The Bible. Was that in the Book of Billabong?

  5. 1700 calories is pretty decent. I find it pretty easy now