More than a billion Catholics and people from other Christian faiths such as my own Greek Orthodox will be observing Lent. 40 days of fasting, giving up a luxury or vice as Jesus did in the 40 days and nights spent in a desert, fighting temptation as the devil tries his evil best to force feed him culinary treats.
This is just one theory depending on your religion another is repentance for those who have sinned, breaking at least one of the 10 commandments perhaps. Some though, will have an overwhelming need to say thank you for all the blessings in their life and sacrifice is the only way to express their gratitude.
As a girl, I had no choice but to go to church, and if I am honest I hated it. Well I’m all grown up now and I have come to realize that it wasn’t church I had a problem with, it was the church parishioners; not all of them just the hypocrites who really had no clue about faith, love, reflection, repentance and had never read a page of the bible never mind a psalm.
Fear was the only reason they would go and drag their kids along giving them a completely inaccurate account of God, Jesus and the Saints. I have now discovered what religion means to me and what role God plays within my life through educating myself and soul searching which is what Jesus was likely to have done in the barren desert.
A few years ago, I decided to follow the Greek Orthodox tradition and fast. There are days where you can eat certain things and days when you can’t so for 40 days and under the guidance of my aunt I did it. I sacrificed all the things I like including meat! Not having a steak for 40 days was tough but I observed the tradition and felt at the time that I had never really sacrificed anything before so why not.
This year, I considered observing Lent but then I started thinking about what the word sacrifice means to me. In the last 3 years in particular, I have given up many things admittedly through my own mistakes and some unfortunate circumstances which I uncharacteristically found myself in. All this just so my friends call me boring because I don’t go out raving as much as before and my family complaining because they don’t see me as much as they used to.
I really can’t give anything else up and this sacrificial lamb won’t be going to the slaughter because its been there and has no plans on returning. I’m sure the God who I talk to daily knows just how much I have given up already and he knows why; I’ve bent his ear on numerous occasions. There has been much sacrifice for so many reasons on a global scale in recent years, perhaps, this year, Lent should be about spending time with the people who didn’t turn their back on you as they secretly travelled the hellish road by your side.
© Michelle Sotiriou 2014