Thursday, February 18, 2010

Giving things Up

For many years, I became a vegetarian during Lent. Giving up all meat, for all of Lent was a real reminder to me that it was Lent. But, since the advent of my food allergies, I've stopped giving up food-related things for Lent. Frankly, every day is a fast day, now.

This year, I decided to give up cursing for Lent. Maybe a priest ought not to admit on her blog that she curses like a trucker. But, the reality is that it's true. And, I've done so for years. I also felt, for many years, that I had my cursing habit under control. I was able to avoid swearing behind the counter at the bookstore, or in front of kids in my youth group.

I'm not quite sure when I lost control of my language. But, I've come to realize that I am no longer in control over what comes out of my mouth. And, I don't like that.

Giving swearing up for Lent seemed like a great idea. In slightly more than 24 hours, it's also been really humbling. This is hard. Much harder than not eating bacon. Because when I chose not to eat bacon, I didn't eat bacon. When I decided not to swear, I made it about 3 hours after I got out of bed, before letting the first one fly. I've spent a fair amount of time clapping my hands over my mouth and saying, "Doh."

What I'm learning is that this may be one of the hardest Lenten disciplines I ever take on. And, like my baptismal promises, I can only do it with God's help. I hope that by Easter Sunday, I'll have learned to think before I speak, and to be a bit less reactive and a bit more contemplative, particularly when I'm frustrated. I will, with God's help.

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