it’s Fat Tuesday! yay, time to suck down some sugar and lard in order to get ready for some serious self sacrifice!
the history of Fat Tuesday is shrouded in mystery: did it originate with the Polish, who made too many Panczis one day, and decided on a random Tuesday to have a blow out sale? was it initiated by the Pagan-cum-Christians, who were eager to fit into the church (so as not to be burned) but reluctant to set aside their partying ways? or did it all really begin in New Orleans, spear-headed by some crafty politician that knew shiny beads, alcohol and sugary treats meant debauchery, drunkenness and increased tourism capital.
any way you look at it, kafillions of people observe Fat Tuesday before buckling down for the more strenuous Lent. eat, drink and be merry today, for tomorrow we must not have chocolate. or soda. or smoking. whatever your vice is.
i don’t think this is a bad thing. i’m not against it in any way. i’m also not a Christian (any longer) so i can choose to observe or not observe this time of year. the thing that is interesting to me is the giving up of something for Lent. i’ve heard of people giving up red meat, sugar, junk food and alcohol. i’ve heard people say they are going to give up Facebook for Lent. how is this really honoring Christ’s sacrifice? i mean, if he goes for a month without food or water, he’s delusional and dehydrated, malnourished and exhausted, then crucified on a cross for not doing anything wrong, how does giving up french fries equate to that sacrifice? is it really on the same playing field? – hypothetical question, that.
instead of trying to make myself feel better for having indulgences and vices by ignoring them for a stretch of days, i’d rather try to incorporate new things in my life. if, as Christians proclaim, Jesus came to give us life, and free us from sin, why are we spending all this time sacrificing something that won’t help anyone? Jesus doesn’t need my soda. or my damn good Taco flavored Doritos. me offering them to him isn’t going to do him any good, or me. it would just make me super cranky to not have my caffeine. instead of focusing on what is bad in us and what should be expunged, what if we all embraced life? what if instead of focusing on my eating habits, i helped feed the poor? what if instead of giving up time on the internet, i worked with Habitat for Humanity to get someone a new home? what if i bought someone a cup of coffee instead of giving up my own?
it seems to me the world might be a brighter place if we spent more time helping one another – at ANY time of the year – rather than beating ourselves on the head for eating yummy foodstuffs.