by Rob Rawls
As I write this post, I am sitting in a house in Key West. I just went for a bike ride through streets filled with shops, restaurants, and music. After I finish writing, I am going to sit by the pool and enjoy the sunshine and cool water. Everywhere I turn, there are decadent smells: fresh baked croissants, coconut shrimp, Cuban sandwiches, and salt water.
This is not Lent.
Lent is the dark days of Chicago. Late February snow storms and early March cloudiness. Lent is work and routine. Lent is discipline.
But here I am.
So I am faced with a choice? Do I let go of Lent for the week and give in to temptations that are around me? After all, vacation is a week of feast days. Right? Or do I stay true to my commitment of intentional and ethical eating, even if it feels excessively penitent?
I am choosing the middle ground. My family enjoyed burgers on the grill last night while I ate a veggie burger. I went to the store and bought fresh fruit and organic chips instead of my usual vacation food of Doritos and Oreos. But I’m letting some stuff go: this week, I am not going to worry about the food being organically grown or ensuring fair labor practices. Just writing that confession down makes me feel a little bit guilty…but it is the truth.
One of my goals for intentional eating was to enjoy food and not just treat it like a task that needs to be done. This week, I get the chance to sit around the dinner table with my partner, my parent, my brother, and his family. We get to drink wine and tell stories and laugh about ridiculous things.
Lenten disciplines are reminders that God is with us during the darkest of times. They should also remind us that God is with us during the celebrations of life.
Sometimes, it’s during the celebrations that we need to remember God’s presence the most.