As a child what you gave up during the season of Lent was decided for you. The options weren’t great, it was either sweets, crisps or biscuits.
In primary school you still had hopeless expectations, every year you tried in vain to get your teacher to agree to going off homework for Lent, but it never worked.
It was like trying to convince your parents you were going off early bed times for the six weeks until Easter. Of course in response your parents sent you to bed early for trying to be funny.
This year I had a choice, will I abstain from alcohol or Facebook? To be honest I’m too nosey to give up Facebook so I settled on going off alcohol although on Friday night I had regretted my decision. I was out with friends and the first hour was fine until the alcohol kicked in and everyone else had moved onto a different plain or a new zone of reality.
I could nearly feel my hair turning grey and the wrinkles appearing on my face. After a few hours I made my excuses and my services as a taxi for those who knew when to go home.
I had two volunteers and by the time I had dropped them off at their various destinations I needed some comfort food. I haven’t had a kebab in years but I was at crisis point.
I thought I deserved the consolation afforded by some fast food emotional high. I told the person behind the takeaway counter ‘easy on the lettuce’ or any other greenery. Reading one reflection I couldn’t help but agree that the beginning of Lent is a very uncomfortable time. Rarely do we look forward or celebrate with any sense of excitement the beginning of Lent. You can nearly feel and touch the gathering clouds which seem to cast a shadow over the next six weeks.
No doubt the days will drag and all we can think about are the daily struggles caused by the things we have gone on or off for Lent.
We’re challenged to allow God to be our Father and to recognize how we’re called to be his children.
Too often we try to be the parent and tell God what we want or what we’re going to do.
Like Adam and Eve we can disobey God and eat from the forbidden tree when we fail to recognize God as our Father. We eat the forbidden fruit when we refuse to be the person God wants us to be by not using our gifts and talents for the good of others.
We take from the forbidden tree when we love the things we want and more than the people we share our lives with; failing to love our friends, family and neighbours as much as they and God love us.
We have a choice, we can choose to ignore God and allow death and darkness to enter our lives. Or we can allow God to strengthen us to become the person he created us to be, happy in the knowledge that nothing can separate us from the love of God.