Editor’s note: This article is from a special guest writer — my sister Erin! Erin is my childrens’ Godmother, my best girlfriend and the most amazing woman (aside from my mom) that I know. I think her life represents that of many moms who are busy beyond belief, helping to support their families and struggling to find time for their own spiritual lives as they minister to their families full time. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Erin’s chosen Lenten fast. LMH
What should I give up for Lent?
I just decided: it’s lunch. LUNCH. More specifically, my lunch “break.”
I’m a lawyer, I work full time in the Chicago Loop. I have several people reporting to me (that’s corporate speak, I call them my “associates” and my “secretary”, very old school, but that’s the law) and I “report” to some people myself. Besides my very busy job/practice, I am a wife and and a mother of 2 boys and have some outside of work and home commitments (parish council, college alumni club, volunteer activities, etc.).
In short, I’m busy. But who isn’t? And, as I ponder Lent and think about what would be a great sacrifice for me, maybe the greatest sacrifice for me, it would be …… LUNCH. I mean, stop taking a lunch break.
See, “lunch” has become, for me, a time to myself, or a time to spend with a friend. Sometimes it involves eating. Sometimes it involves shopping. Sometimes it involves looking at things on the internet which are probably a waste of time but that I actually enjoy, selfishly (all of the photos of the stars from the red carpet at the Golden Globes?! That could take an hour. The blog or “recap” of the latest episode of my favorite show? Whatever–whatever it is that I am selfishly in the mood for on that given day.)
I have to admit: I give myself a selfish “break” in middle of the day that most people refer to as “lunch” and I do WHATEVER I want to do. Gosh, how I wish I had a couch in my office so I could take a nap, but that’s a whole different story.
Anyway, when I reflected on the “giving something up” aspect of Lent, I first thought: I should give up “lunch”. I should give up that selfish time, be it 1 minutes or 2 hours, on any certain day, and devote that time to my family instead. Instead of reading the internet or having lunch with a friend or simply wandering around the City to clear my head: I should keep working through that break so I can come home earlier. That’s what I should do.
There are other “selfish” things I could give up. I could give up my downtown parking space and donate that money to the poor (or put it in my children’s college funds). I could not stop at Starbuck’s on my way back from lunch (seriously, today it was a $5.00+ grande half-caf skinny caramel latte, it tastes so good….) and donate that money to the poor. And it’s not like I don’t donate money left and right, I do (we do, my darling generous husband and I, who’s in charge of the checkbook even though I’m a financial lawyer, and who never, ever questions me when I send him and email saying “send some money to the Little Sisters of the Poor!” or to “Joanie (our missionary friend”) in Africa”). It’s just too easy for me to do those things.
I think I need to do something harder. So: should I give up Lunch for Lent? Or should I give up Starbucks for Lent? Or something else? Thoughts, please.