"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin
I couldn't agree more, Ben. And so goes my main thought on Lent this here Ash Wednesday: If eating good things like chocolate and hamburgers and drinking good things like coffee and beer make you so very happy that you want to fly away to heaven to thank God in person for being one heck of a Creator, isn't it somehow wrong -- perhaps even sinful to abstain from such pleasures for 40 whole days?
Absolutely, declares my late 20th century Protestant thinking (early Protestants observed Lent -- some still do). Remember, agewise I'm only 3/31ths Catholic and 28/31ths Protestant and the matter of conversion truly takes time ... I better live a really really really long life.
So I haven't decided what I'm giving up for Lent. I'm still here: "I've given up my whole body (pregnancy), every waking second of my life (motherhood), alcohol (pregnancy), money (husband's job loss) already; what else does God want from me? Throw me a bone here, or maybe just a steak or a candy bar.
And after all this pondering, what's my conclusion? Just this: if, out of love, I voluntarily offer up a sacrifice during Lent, perhaps the rest of the year it will be just a little easier to offer up the sacrifices demanded of me. We'll see.