The Christians among you will have some sense that last Thursday marked the beginning of Lent. For some, Lent means simply “giving something up,” something like coffee or sweets or meat, something that makes one feel virtuous. Don’t get me wrong; making any sacrifice for 40 days is a good thing, no matter what it is. I won’t get into the meaning of the sacrifice to the individual because that would reveal my cynicism about the whole thing.
This year, our minister asked us to consider doing something for Lent that had deeper personal meaning for us as Christians. He suggested things like setting aside time for Bible reading, for prayer, for volunteering, for helping others, for considering how we spend our money. To be honest, I had lost track of the days and thought that Ash Wednesday (the day before Lent starts) was the following week. Doug pointed out my error when I asked if he wanted to go to the Ash Wednesday service at our church. At that point, I made what I think was a pretty bold statement.
It’s important to note here that I had been sick the week before this conversation, with fever, vomiting, chills and incredible fatigue. The bug had disappeared the day before, so I was feeling a bit more chipper. Perhaps that explains the boldness of my statement. I think it’s also interesting that we were on the way to an appointment with my family doctor, and that I had a long list of things I wanted to check with her.
OK, OK already. I can hear you all saying it. What’s the bold statement? Here it is:
For Lent, I am giving up being sick. That’s it; sick no more. Those of you who follow this blog and followed its predecessor will realize that this statement represents a goal in my life. I wanted to be free of my need to “be sick” in order that I be the centre the centre of attention. After 4 months in hospital where my sickness was entirely not my creation nor my choice, I realized that being the centre of that much attention was not what I wanted. Hence the statement that I am giving up being sick. This doen’t mean that I won’t have the occasional cold or other “real” illness; it means that I won’t create sickness for myself.
For me this is a huge thing. I am committed for 40 days, but it is my hope and prayer that I get so used to not being sick that I will keep it up forever.
(Not proofread…I am tired)