A Lenten Change That Really Matters
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Even lapsed Catholics pause on this day to consider whether they ought to give up something for Lent. Usually, it’s chocolate or alcohol. We rarely do, but we remember that a little sacrifice isn’t such a bad idea every now and again. Lent lasts forty days, and it’s a “right” amount of time for giving something up. I stopped smoking in 2000 when I gave up cigarettes for Lent. Forty days didn’t seem impossibly long, but when it was over, I didn’t want to smoke any more.
Some people prefer to do something positive for Lent, like “random acts of kindness,” or vague stuff like that. When I was in Catholic elementary school, every kid had to put their Lenten promise on a construction paper heart, and they were posted in the hallways. One kid wrote, “For Lent, I will bury dead animals I see on the road.” I thought that was pretty noble.
I count myself among the lapsed Catholics who consider a sacrifice every year. I was thinking about giving up social media or alcohol, but who was I kidding? I don’t think Jesus needs me to stop having wine on the weekends. Wine was kind of his bag, after all. Then I read this article, “The Best Thing to Give Up This Lent is Plastic, Not Chocolate,” and I decided that was the right thing to do. It’s a sacrifice that does good and might wean me of my less mindful practices around plastic.
I hope you’ll join me. I will continue to post ideas for how to refuse and avoid plastic. It’s no longer just about reducing and recycling, it’s time to start refusing, and maybe it will make a difference.