By Catherine Moran
As many of you may know, Lent began on February 13. For many practicing Christians, this translates to fasting, or “giving something up.” Going without meat on Fridays is a popular example.
While I am not a practicing Catholic any longer, I was for some time, so picking something to go without for 40 days is not a new concept to me. However, my parents, who are both open-minded, loving people, put a bit of a different spin on Lent. Rather than give something up (my sister and I didn’t watch tv during the week, nor did we eat lots of junk food, which were the two most popular things to “give up” during Lent for my classmates in middle school), my parents would suggest, each year, that we do something extra, be it an act of kindness toward someone, or volunteering our time after school to help clean up the library. This concept of doing something extra has stuck with me since childhood. I try to incorporate that mentality into my everyday life, and not just confine it to a proscribed period of time. Why should I not go out of my way to be kind to people every day? And doing something extra strikes me as a better use of my energy than being sad that I can’t eat chocolate for 40 days (though this is in no way of judgment of people who do sacrifice something that they enjoy as an expression of their religion.)
That said, I do feel as if I am participating in Lent this year, as I continue to try to purchase fewer plastic items.