For most people Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. For me, Lent begins today. I am Byzantine (Eastern Rite) as opposed to Roman (Latin Rite). Some things are different for us and this in one.
The first day of Lent as well as two other days throughout the year is a day of strict fast and abstinence. The fast part doesn’t bother me. The abstinence sometimes does. For me it is not just abstaining from meat but also from all dairy products as well. There goes my morning bowl of cereal and cup of coffee.
There are things that I don’t eat on a daily basis, but tell me I can’t have something and just like a kid I want it all the more. I can’t have a piece of chocolate. I can’t have eggs, I can’t have bread and butter. I will not use a nondairy creamer in my coffee because I just don’t like the taste.
However, just so you don’t think that all I am doing is whining, which of course I am, I don’t starve. Instead of focusing on what I can’t have let me say some of the things I can have. Shrimp and a baked potato with margarine not butter is fine. For dinner we usually have salmon, potatoes fried in Crisco, and zucchini in tomato sauce. So I really am not fading away because of not eating.
Lent is also a time of sacrifice, of giving something up. I do feel that giving up something you truly enjoy is something to do for Lent. I have had a problem with this for years, though. Because I really and truly enjoyed teaching I thought it would be something I could give up for 40 days. However, none of my principals would buy into it.