I wasn't sure I was going to blog about this, but as with most of the subjects I write about, I mention it just in case it's helpful to someone else.
On the day before Ash Wednesday, I still hadn't fully settled on what I wanted to/needed to/should do for penance. A few ideas were bouncing around my head. Coffee occurred to me a few times, but each time I immediately dismissed it as an insane thought. "No," I told myself, "something more meaningful."
Besides -- I didn't want to give coffee up. Please.
I was bouncing around on the internet, too. Reading blogs. And I saw that this sweet reader had taken my ramblings to heart and planned to give up buying any new books through Lent. She had read my "Meaningful Lent" post which said, "If it's a struggle to give it up, we're inordinately attached to it."
And then, I practically heard the word, before I even had time to cross examine myself about my own inordinate attachments:
"Coffee." It was so loud.
The Lord can just be so annoying sometimes. Like when He tells me what I really need to do.
I wanted to swat the word and the thought away, like a fly, like the pesky thing it was. But I knew it was true. I am inordinately attached, and I have never given coffee up for Lent. There was no more dodging it.
So, coffee topped the list of material penances.
Ash Wednesday went beautifully. Atticus had a lovely cup of tea ready for me first thing in the morning. This won't be so hard, I thought (rather pathetically.) But, ummm, yeah. It got harder. But I've hung in there, thanks to God, and I'm so glad I did.
And why am I talking about it now?
Because it's not too late to try to give up something that you might have considered and rejected as a penance. If you're feeling that you fudged a little, compromised, chose something easy rather than something that would make you rely on Him instead of "it" (whatever "it" is for you), then there's still time to give that penance a trial run if you want to. We're in Passiontide, and Easter is still almost two weeks away. That's long enough to feel it, and short enough to survive. And there's still a Solemnity coming on Thursday, and one more Sunday -- havens (and I do duck in to the havens.)
Giving up coffee has been beneficial for me in so many ways. I'd love to tell you that I'll be giving it up permanently, that I've seen major health improvements, have lost weight, now adore tea and I just won the lottery.
None of that is true.
I know I'll go back to coffee. But, thanks be to God for several things: for His help, that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13), and for the Body of Christ as experienced through blogs and readers and the blogs of readers. I know that He can conquer addictions large and small, and on Easter Sunday, I'll have some coffee because I want to, not because I have to.