Lent, Inconvenient Lent

For over twenty years, I’ve been either vegetarian or vegan for Lent. When I got married, my husband joined in. Our two children, now teens, are stuck with the ride, some years more reluctantly than others. We were vegetarians on a honeymoon like trip early in our marriage– before kids, and before the more easy availability of vegetarian options. Our memory of DisneyWorld is flavored with rutabagas.  A rutabaga dish at the Moroccan Epcot pavilion was the only vegetarian option available. A bunch of people said we were crazy for sticking with Lenten fast on vacation. We ate a lot of salad that trip.

Epcot - Moroccan Life

Epcot – Moroccan Life (Photo credit: SpreadTheMagic)

No, Lent is not always convenient. Sure, maybe it would have been more convenient to do it some other time. The problem with that is that “some other time” can easily slip into “never”, and anyway, Lent is when Lent is. For those on a Christian path, the timing is specific.  For others, it’s the right time because you can be in community with other people with similar goals, spiritual or otherwise. This year Western Lent starts the day before freakin’ Valentine’s day. This also brings new meaning to the word “inconvenient”.

For those kids out there who will receive recommendations to give up chocolate for Lent, this sounds like pure torture. I don’t know what to tell you, kids, other than beg your parents to save the Valentine hearts in the deep freeze for an Easter double chocolate pig out. Or, as the Ironic Catholic suggests, give up bacon instead.

This year my kids are bemoaning the timing of Lent because I’ve figured out that we can have a double Lent, from the start of Western Lent until Eastern Orthodox Easter. After some negotiation, they’ve reconciled themselves to the notion, though they insist that this year Lent is a Vegetarian affair and not a Vegan one. My son has declared Valentine’s Day a Lent Free zone, because he wants to take his girlfriend out to dinner and she’s not much of a vegetable-eater. I reminded him that he’s old enough to be the guardian of his own conscience, and pointed out that Lent is never convenient.

That inconvenience is a feature, not a bug. Lent is not meant to be convenient. Many good things aren’t convenient. Working through that inconvenience can show your own inner strength. We can do this, and it will be awesome.

Related Posts:

The  Season of  Lent: Convenience

Lent, Again?

Finding the Loophole for a Lenten Valentine’s Day

My Relationship with Lent

Lent

Lent (Photo credit: Our Lady of Disgrace)

Although I have participated in the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox faiths along with a brief visit to Protestantism, I now follow my own religious path.  I’ve been keeping Lent regardless of my religious affiliation (or lack thereof) my entire life. Lent is a powerful season for me, with a lot of deep, personal meaning.   I have no desire to convert anyone.  I invite you to celebrate Lent with me, whatever Lent might mean to you. You are welcome here, whatever your religious affiliation or lack thereof. If you’ve never celebrated Lent, this might be an opportunity to give it a try.

Because our religious conversations online tend to be combative and unhelpful, I ask you to be especially kind and generous and careful with each other in any comments you might make to this post. Proselytizers will be banned or sold to alien space-slavers, depending on how cranky I feel on the day I read them.