Sacrifices different for everybody

By Helena Rodriguez: CNJ Columnist

Since I was a child, Lent has been that time of year that we pick something we really like and then torture ourselves, and those around us, going without it for 40 long days and nights.

After all, if Jesus could survive in the desert for 40 days and nights without food and water, we could go without candy, pickles, dessert, soda, or even more specifically, Dr Pepper. And even tortillas, a staple of our everyday lives, which is not so easy to go without sometimes, but which my daughter Laura did do one year.

So these are just a few of the things that my sisters and I and Laura have given up for Lent over the years. One year, I think it was last year, I even gave up giving up things for Lent and instead tried to make a sacrifice of doing things I don’t normally do, like being nice and stopping for pedestrians on the crosswalk. No, just kidding. Really, it was about spending more time in reflective prayer, praying Rosary beads and trying to go to daily Mass during the week.

This year has been a combination of both. No desserts or soda. Instead of whining about it, though, like we did as kids, I just try not to think about it and that has worked.

I remember one year, when my sister Becky and I, not really understanding the true intention of Lent, gave up obscure things that we rarely even had. We were like, “I’m giving up sweet tarts and watermelon bubble gum.” As a result, Lent was not as fun and certainly did not have as much meaning to us, without the personal sacrifice.
Of course, though, there was that one year that we both gave up sodas, which was quite a sacrifice, but we made it. As soon as Easter Sunday Mass was over, Aunt Paula took us straight to Pat’s Twin Cronnie and treated us to two large Dr Peppers.