Lent!

Once again, Lent is upon us.

As you know, this is when we listen to a lovely rendition of Ave Maria (as well as something somewhat less timeless) and, in recent years, discuss what we’re giving up for Lent.

Ave Maria Michael Lorenc – with Olga Szyrowa

Well, I got back from the doctor’s on Monday where I was told that I had officially transitioned from “chubby” to “fat”. “Start exercising and go on a diet.” “Can I go on a ketosis diet?” “If you’ll stick with it AND STAY HYDRATED.”

So, this year, in addition to giving up purchasing video games, I will also be giving up carbs (as best I can, anyway) for Lent (and, looks like, for a few months beyond).

Of course, I only got into this position from the sheer amount of absolutely awesome carbs out there that taste good on the tongue and feel good in the belly and bathe the brain in dopamine and serotonin (my two favorite things!) and… well. In the face of indulging oneself in such things for a good long while, it’s good to do something like say “Hey. It’s time to give up on that for a time and contemplate exactly how much really awesome stuff I have surrounding me and I should do what I can to appreciate it and be present when I allow myself to enjoy it again.”

I mean, in years past, I bought video games and thought “hey, when I get time to myself, I will totally play this” and they sat on the shelf and aged and we moved from this generation of video game consoles to that one and there it sat, unopened, and that’s money that could have just as easily bought a goat for a needy family or helped a poor kid in rural Appalachia or, heck, gotten 2% interest in the bank.

I should do that less. I should be more present. As such, I’m giving up buying video games for Lent (and board games too, for that matter) and, on top of that, I’m going on a diet.

Right after taking Maribou out to the IHOP on Tuesday night for pancakes.

So… what are you giving up for Lent?

(And I need another “Oh, I remember that song!” song for the post… here’s one.)

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – The Impression That I Get

(Picture is “Looks like Lent” by Thirteen of Clubs, used under a Creative Commons license.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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25 thoughts on “Lent!

  1. Before Lent I like to fortify myself with the Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Faure.

    Being as I am, devotionally challenged, I keep my penances small but constant, mix in some additional prayer, a weekly corporal work of mercy… and I’m petitioning my confessor (unsuccessfully) to allow my time spent here to count as a spiritual work of mercy.

    Verbe égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espérance,
    Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux;
    De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence,
    Divin Sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux!

    Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
    Que tout l’enfer fuie au son de ta voix;
    Dissipe le sommeil d’une âme languissante,
    Qui la conduit à l’oubli de tes lois!

    O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle
    Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé.
    Reçois les chants qu’il offre à ta gloire immortelle,
    Et de tes dons qu’il retourne comblé!

    Here’s a really nice version with a Mardi Gras treat… [I can’t seem to get it to embed]

    https://youtu.be/9jliWPm6hoU?t=5s

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  2. I use an app called Pocket to clip articles from blogs, websites, etc. I just recently received an email from them that said I was among the top 5% of their users last year and read the equivalent of 18 books. But then I thought, “I would have benefited more from reading 18 books.” So I culled my feed reader down to the bare minimum, unliked a bunch of Facebook pages, and started telling my mom, thanks but no thanks on all the articles she sends me. The entire effort is to create some margin in my free time. Don’t know what that will accomplish but it feels like the right thing to do. So for Lent I’m trying to give up looking at screens in hopes I will start looking at the real world more.


    Give up harsh words – Use generous ones
    Give up unhappiness – Take up gratitude
    Give up anger – Take up gentleness & patience
    Give up pessimism – Take up hope and optimism
    Give up worrying – Take up trust in God
    Give up complaining – Value what you have
    Give up stress – Take up prayer
    Give up judging others – Discover God within them
    Give up sorrow and bitterness – Fill your heart with joy
    Give up selfishness – Take up compassion for others
    Give up being unforgiving – Learn reconciliation
    Give up words – Fill yourself with silence & listen to others

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      • You are preachin’ to the choir.

        One contemporary theory of “cravings” (e.g., nicotine cravings) is that the psychological component, at least, comes from encountering a “block” or “barrier” to satiety (i.e., Lacan was right all along!). Better to just remove the barriers then, I say.

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        • I’ve found that not totally blocking things I want to not do (at least notionally leaving the door open), helps me not do them. Otherwise they are all I can think about, if I think I can never do them again.

          So I no longer say, “I’m never doing [X] again”; I say, “I’m not doing [X] today”, and then just say it again tomorrow, and the day after that, etc.

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          • Yeah, I’m joking, of course, but Glyph’s solution is a more reasonable way to go. The idea is not to increase a behavior by trying to construct barriers for it, but instead make the barriers more dynamic, and include end-arounds, so that people don’t feel trapped between enforced abstinence and their compulsions, potentially enhancing the compulsions.

            The gist being that we’re all basically rebellious teenagers at risk of yelling to our better selves, “You don’t get me! You can’t control me!” as we figuratively tip over porta-potties in the middle of the night.

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            • Speaking of folk wisdom, this is more or less the “take it one day at a time” philosophy embedded in some AA stuff too.

              Never have another drink, ever? Not only does that seem a miserable existence if I somehow succeed, but I know right now that I will definitely fail, so fish it, I’m having a drink.

              But not drinking *today*? That, I might be able to manage. Then, get a bunch of those single days under your belt.

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    • Precisely… that’s part of the collected wisdom that makes Catholicism so human.

      The alternatives are none days, all days or some random collection of days – why 40? New Year’s resolutions are pretty much “none” – there’s no reinforcement after that one day. Lent, at a minimum, is a reminder for 40-days of the thing you wanted to do on day-one, and possibly haven’t. Ancient wisdom and formation practices learned over centuries recognize that it takes about 6-weeks to cultivate a new habit or virtue. Recent “studies” suggest somewhere from 18-66 days is common (depending on the habit one wants to form or break).

      So, studies show 40-days is a great target for you to work on habits or virtues.

      And a 365-day Lent? That’s just inhuman.

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  3. I am giving up online fansites (discussion/advertising of movies, TV shows, etc). I did it one year and it made me realize how much more time I had, and how many better uses I could make of that time.

    This year, however, there’s a probability that the time is going to be filled by keeping up on the news (in particular, the US presidential primaries) instead.

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  4. Alcohol. I can’t decide if I should be enjoying it while I can before the IVF or if I should start getting used to living without my lovely wine with dinner. I’m trying to go without. Who needs the extra calories anyway, right?

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