Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Giving Up Dove Chocolate for Lent

Last Sunday, we celebrated the halfway mark of the season of Lent. This year Lent seems to be going in slow motion. Maybe it's because when I look out my window on April 1, I still see clumps and mounds of snow on the ground. The warmth of spring and budding trees have been slow arriving to St. Joseph. Or maybe it's because I earnestly attempted to give up dark chocolate, specifically Dove, for Lent. I never been great at giving up things for Lent, but this year, once again, I decided to give it a shot.

 Lent and New Year's always seem to fall in the same camp for me. Good intentions – very good intentions set out in full force and zeal yet withering at some point to temptation. So it's been 20 days of no prophetic notes from the inside of wrappers or dark chocolate with coffee. It probably seems a little funny for a monk give up dark chocolate and how nebulous and insignificant. And, frankly, I think so myself, except paradoxically it has woken up an awareness of the season of Lent in me, living one day at time, saying no to something that would give me instant pleasure, and learning the old life lesson of waiting.

 Waiting has never been my strong suit except in the area of procrastination. Forsaking this small piece of dark chocolate has opened a new spiritual journey of being with God. I do not think God is all that interested in the dark chocolate score sheet of Lent. I believe God is interested in my heart, is waiting for me to continue to unwrap and live into the delicacy of his mercy and love, and if it takes a small piece of dark chocolate – God smiles and maybe nibbles on a piece while drinking coffee.

1 comment:

  1. Lent has been an interesting experience for me. Back on what used to be called Septuagesima Sunday, I put together this really elaborate Lenten Rule for myself. I think, looking back over the first half of Lent, I've fallen away from 90% of that rule. Part of that was fast food and soft drinks. That lasted until the Friday after Ash Wednesday when I ran out and got a Route 44 from Sonic. (sigh...)

    But in the meantime, I found myself doing things that had not really been listed in my personal rule, such as getting up at 5 a.m. for lectio, and morning prayer at 6 a.m. -- consistently and naturally, without a lot of struggle (other than a yawn or two). And finding myself watching my behavior and trying to me more patient and kinder to others. So, in spite of my failure to keep my own Lenten Rule, I've actually had a productive Lent, with fruit that will last me well past Easter.