If you observe the Christian season of Lent, congratulations.
If you are like many of various denominations, you made it through Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40-day pre-Easter "fast" with minimal discomfort, save for perhaps a still-smudged forehead and a jones for meat. Hooray for you, one day down and only 39 to go.
While Lenten spiritual journeys often are very private experiences, those taking these cerebral treks often commiserate with others on what is, for some, the toughest part of the Lent deal: giving up something meaningful for 40 days.
Note again that the thing being given up must be meaningful. No one is saying that you need give up items involving health or sustenance (other than any form of meat on Lenten Fridays), only that you go 40 days without something of real importance to you. After all. the act is supposed to symbolize Jesus' long-ago sacrifice. Christians believe he gave up his life so that others could be free from the specter of sin. And yeah, some misguided souls killed him. So giving up, say, Twinkies when one hasn't cared about a Twinkie in decades is just not appropriate.
If you're going to take the time and trouble to make a sacrifice to honor Jesus, actually make a sacrifice. There has to be some pain if it's going to count on your spiritual report card.
Otherwise, why bother? Many Christians, for many reasons, opt to partake of the Ash Wednesday "ashes to ashes, dust to dust" routine while passing on the sacrifice aspect. And still others do not observe Lent at all.
Vive la difference.
At diversity-loving Patch, where some of us observe Lent and others do not, we're curious to know how Parsippany shakes out on the question of Lenten sacrifice. Whatever you believe, whether you are Christian or not, let us know what you're doing for the next 40 days. Feel free to amplify your poll response in the comments and, if you'd like, share "what I gave up" stories with your neighbors.
For the record: We haven't decided yet, though we're inclined to stand with comedian Stephen Colbert and give up high-fiving conquistadors.