Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the first day of Lent. I was raised Protestant, Presbyterian mostly, and do not remember a lot of ritual surrounding Lent in the church that I attended with my family. I did attend a school run by a Catholic church in the 7th and 8th grades, however, which exposed me to some of the traditions, especially the tradition of fasting, during Lent. I have never converted to Catholicism, but the fascination that I felt toward the rituals of the Catholic church left its imprint on my brain; and while I didn’t fully understand every custom that I witnessed as a middle-schooler, I could feel the sense of mystery and reverence that surrounded them.
The first time I decided to give up something for Lent was about three years ago. You would think that since I was raised Protestant and attended a Catholic school that I would have a well-rounded understanding of Lent. But to be perfectly honest, I was a daydreamer as a kid and my understanding goes only as deep as the moments that I was actually paying attention. A lot of my impressions from childhood come from how I felt during certain experiences. The facts and details often escape me. So when I decided to actively participate in Lent, I did what we all do these days when we want to learn more about a topic: I googled it. Here is what Wikipedia says about Lent in case you are interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent
I decided to jump in and participate for a couple reasons. First of all, I am a Christian. I am often a back-sliding, irreverent Christian, and I respect and am interested in the beliefs of other religions, but Christ and Christianity are the root of my spirituality. I see Lent not only as a time of atonement, but more than that, as a time to pull closer to my creator. There are lots of ways to connect to your creator, and engaging in a discipline that reminds you of your savior on a daily basis is an effective way to do that.
The first time I participated in the “fasting” aspect of Lent, I gave up bread. The difficulty of doing that ebbed and flowed. Sometimes, it was easy. Other times, it felt like people were practically throwing bread at me. The next time I gave up Facebook. That was actually a much-needed detox, and in some ways, it wasn’t as much of the sacrifice as I thought it would be. I learned to enjoy being “off the grid” for Lent. This year, I’m going Pescatarian which means that I will be eating vegetarian with fish and eggs added as a source of protein. No other meats allowed.
I have mixed feelings about telling you about this because we are actually not supposed to advertise to the world what we are doing to become more spiritual. Braggarts are frowned upon by God. So that is not the point.
It just occurred to me that this will be something of a journey in multiple ways. It’s an opportunity to eat more seafood (though not too much because of mercury) and while there will be times when I will really want a cheeseburger, or it would be easier to grab some chicken for dinner, it also gives me an opportunity to try new dishes and to see what impact, if any, it has on my health. I assume I will want to write about some of that, and I didn’t want people to feel like I had suddenly become obsessed with fish for no reason 🙂 In addition, I think it is okay to write about it a little bit in case someone else is looking for information on this season as I was.
So, I’ve already planned my first meal. I have some tuna burgers in the freezer and decided to have a tuna burger for dinner, modeling it after the following recipe. I have rye bread in the house so I’ll substitute that for the bun, and a big juicy tomato so I’ll add that.
If I find any other good recipes along the way, I will share those, as well.
Hope everyone has a great day!