Chocolate, Coffee and Broccoli

Earth from orbitEvery year I am asked by someone what I am giving up for Lent.  I always struggle with this one since I did not grow up engaging in a sacrificial practice during the Lenten Season.  I had friends who would give up chocolate or caffeine every Lent.  Many of these friends made it through only a few weeks of agony without their morning coffee or afternoon Snickers bar - and some even made it until the end of the Lenten Season but most struggled mightily.  I also had a young friend offer to give up broccoli and yellow veggies one year -- even though they did not usually eat them.  I have friends giving up Facebook or Twitter this year and that type of commitment to spending less time on their computers is a valid endeavor.  The practice, however, of giving something up always seemed foreign to me but I respect those who give up some part of their daily routine or something they enjoy.

So this year as in years past I am entering into this 40 days not by giving something up but instead I am taking something on for Lent.  I am sacrificing some of my time, energy and convenience to take something on by making a pledge to reduce my carbon footprint this year.  I am working to live with less output of electricity, trying to use my car less, working to decrease the use of paper and electricity in my home and office, and generally trying to be more in tune with creation.  As someone who is a typical American consumer it will be a gift to give back, give up and take on this challenge.  It may not be giving up chocolate or caffeine (things I rarely consume anyway - maybe for me it's too much like giving up yellow veggies) but I hope it means more to my communal life with the planet and all of God's amazing creation than living without a luxury that many in the world only dream of tasting.  

May your Lenten journey be blessed and your life make more sense when it ends.