Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lenten Abstinences

Apparently, yesterday was Ash Wednesday. I say “apparently” because I’m not even very sure about whether it was or wasn’t, and I’m really too lazy to check. In other words, we’re currently in the season of Lent. (In case you didn’t know, it comes from the Old English word for “length”, because it was felt that it just SO darned long!)

Now, I’m fairly nonreligious. I’d call myself an atheist, but frankly I’m too lazy to bother. No points for guessing that I don’t go to church, and I don’t plan to indulge myself in any pious acts of abstinence either over the coming few weeks. Good reasons for giving up something I like, for a month, might include the following:

1. I get paid handsomely to do it
2. I get smothered to death by a REALLY fat lady sitting on me if I don’t do it
3. The cool kids around the block are already doing it.

I do not rank “some guy with a beard in the sky, who may or may not exist, will be pleased” as sufficient reason for abstinence from something that I derive pleasure out of. Neither does “the Bible says so” count. The thought of going to hell for not following such stuff scared me for a while until I realized that hell can’t be much worse than driving home from work in the evening traffic. And I’ve managed to survive that thus far.

I guess there are two things you need to keep in mind when you’re selecting something to abstain from. Firstly, it needs to be something you like doing. Promising to abstain from doing the dishes isn’t going to win you brownie points with any God, I’d tend to believe. Secondly, it’s got to be something that you do fairly regularly during the rest of the year. Thus, saying “I’m going to abstain from having sex with all blonde, West Indian females named Fufou” would be equally useless.

I think Lenten abstinences are actually quite like New Year’s resolutions only the term’s shorter. Forty days instead of the rest of your life. Unless you’re a diabetic octagenarian, with a weak heart and cancer of the lungs, or a civilian in Baghdad, in either which case “the rest of your life” can probably be measured in minutes, forty days is probably the shorter period. In fact, I’m pretty sure most New Year’s resolutions are already broken by the time Lent comes around, and are then just recycled as Lenten abstinences. It saves people the trouble of having to think of a new “resolution” to break.

What are you going to staying away from this Lent?


angeldust_xtc said...

hi!how r ya?

wonder how long before some guy/gal comes by tellin u off for ur views on God :)

btw, i thought abstinence meant givin up something u like thats bad. i'm thinking of cutting down on thinking too much :p

Red said...

'too lazy to bother' is a phrase I can understand.. A friend of mine gave up eating non-vegetarian food last year during Lent.. it was the longest 45 days of his life.. :)