I'm Giving Up Worrying for Lent

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday. The day before, Fat Tuesday, revelers celebrated in Rio with their massive party, Carnivale; in New Orleans with Mardi Gras; in England and our Shrove Tuesday tradition, with pancakes.

So after the revelry, we, like millions of faithful around the world, filed into our church and our priest made the sign of the cross on our foreheads with ashes, saying the words "From dust you came, and to dust you shall return," a happy little reminder of our mortality. The Ash Wednesday Litany helps to put things into perspective; our daily cares really don't mean much in the end when we return as dust to the cosmos.

Traditionally, as part of this season of repentance and introspection, people give something up for Lent. One year I gave up chocolate. It wasn't that hard. There are lots of desserts out there without chocolate. I could have had a glazed donut every day and kept my promise. Approaching Lent this year, I was thinking of the concept of giving up and realized that I've been living a Lenten existence for the past year or so since our economy has been in a downturn. What is there left to give up? Aside from my husband, son, and our ridiculous dog, my greatest joy is coffee. To give that up would just be wrong.

I've decided to do something productive this year and give up worrying for Lent. I worry about various family members, about the polar ice caps melting, the economy, bills. I even worry about worrying too much. So I'm giving it up for Lent. Worrying may be the single most unproductive of all human emotions. It doesn't affect the outcome of any given event, so why bother?

What would you give up? What could you give up? (And this is a non-denominational query; anyone can play.)

Read part two: “So Much For Not Worrying

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