Sacrifice All the Things: The Loser’s Guide to Winning Lent

I grew up Catholic, but you’d never know it based on my Lenten history. For decades, try as I might, I could never get the season right. Some years, I did too much. Other years, I did too little. And sometimes, I simply lost my mind. Like, the year when I gave up expressing opinions for Lent. Yes, I did that. Well, I sort of did that. I tried, but it didn’t work out so well. Fancy that.

There was also a Lent where I did a progressive fast. During week one, I gave up sweets. For week two, I gave up sweets and meat. The next week, sweets, meat, and dairy. By the time Good Friday arrived, I was basically eating like a tee-totaling, vegan Mormon Celiac on a diet. Or, to put it more accurately, I was eating like a miserable, crabby, total wench of a tee-totaling, vegan Mormon Celiac on a diet.

That was a special year for everyone.

The good news is that all those Lents—crashing, burning, banging wrecks that they were—didn’t go completely to waste. My own particular kind of Lenten crazy gave my friends lots of opportunities to offer things up. I think a few roommates actually did count living with me during Lent as their penance. Plus, eventually, I learned from my own mistakes, and stopped trying to win Lent—proving how holy I was by my ability to Sacrifice All the Things.

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