What I Gave Up for Lent: No Joke

dam thoughts, barry currin, beaverdamusa.comSeveral years ago, I joked I had given up Brussels sprouts for lent, and it got a few chuckles. I always try to be funny, so every Lenten season I would whip out old “Brussels sprouts” a few times.

This year though, I saw someone else post it on Facebook, and that ruined it for me. It was getting old, anyway. And it was starting to make Kim grind her teeth.

So I had a thought: Instead of joking about it, why don’t I really give up something for lent? I had been inspired by the preacher’s sermon the previous Sunday. And almost immediately I felt divine intervention. I was going to do it. Cue the trumpets.

But what would I give up?

A couple of years ago, Kim gave up red meat, and she somehow survived. I figured if she could do it, I could at least give it a stab. I can live without steaks until Easter, I thought. So I proclaimed it. Heck, it would be healthy to boot. And while the angels were still singing in the heat of the moment, I decided to ditch fried potatoes, too.

And then in a move that would make John Wesley flip his wig, I decided to give up an hour’s worth of sleep each morning. No problem. I have more to do in a day than I can ever accomplish, anyway.

Fast forward to Ash Wednesday. The alarm clock sounded like a cannon. I grabbed my phone and googled, “When does lent start for Protestants?” (Like there’s a difference, I know. But it was early.) I thought maybe it didn’t start until the day after Ash Wednesday. Or, maybe there was a loophole for well-meaning Methodists like myself who are just doing the play-at-home version.

Of course, the Bible has precious few loopholes, and this was no exception, unfortunately. So I got up.

It lasted a day. Yes, I failed. That’s what makes us Christians, right?

So, working under the assumption that lent and baseball share a couple of rules, I kept the faith I still had 2 strikes left. I would make the red-meat-and-potatoes thing stick.

It’s been a long 44 days, but here I sit on April 18, alone in the wilderness, battered and bruised, yearning to squeeze the Heinz 57 and ketchup. But I will make it. Yes, I will make it, thanks to poultry and pork. I’ve eaten so much chicken lately I swear I think I cluck sometimes.

I know the Lord works in mysterious ways, but still I know it is a coincidence that a restaurateur friend of mine told us the other night that the price of bacon had tripled for him over the past month.

And I know it means nothing that I now have this recurring dream where I walk outside to see a chicken pecking at the brake lines on my truck.

It hasn’t been easy. No burgers. No burritos — well, chicken burritos — cluck, cluck.

See what I mean?

While I’m testifying, giving up fried potatoes has been no walk in the park, either. McDonald’s is my favorite fast-food place. And while I don’t go there much, I truly believe that a McDonald’s French fry is one of the best tastes on earth. I also like a potato chip from time to time.

In all, I think I gained a little of the appreciation I was supposed to as a Christian.

But I also gained an appreciation for how funny I now realize my Brussels sprouts joke still is. And as God is my witness, I’m going to whip it back out in 2015.

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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