Six years ago I gave up alcohol for Lent. I never started again. Last year I forsook crisps, but I've now cut down on potato based snacks for health reasons. I could claim to be giving up impulse buys of clothes and books, but I'm skint. So this year I'm giving up Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, MySpace and LinkedIn. To be honest I only really use the first two, and I'm not even sure that MySpace exists anymore. I probably have to carry on with Blogger, but only on Sundays.
But Lent isn't just about giving up and sacrificing things we like, it has to be about what you do extra. I haven't quite figured that bit out yet. It's a time for prayer and reflection, for searching, for resisting temptation and doing good.
Earlier today I posted a blog about health and fitness, which was a strong reason why I won't be fasting as my fairly strict diet takes precedent. I've also been on a long personal journey where I've been looking for guidance and help to stop feeling angry about others. It's something I've struggled with all my life, effectively drinking poison in the hope that it will hurt those I'm angry about. Guess what? It doesn't work. As I sit here now, there are situations where I would previously have seethed at those I've clashed with, gossiped about so-called rivals. No more. Maybe it's been a renewed focus, a health scare, or maybe it's something else. When you choose to look you can bear witness to the inspiring behaviour of people you least expect, people who are capable of such remarkable forgiveness and charity to those who may not deserve it. In my life too I've got the example of my wonderful mother who has reserves of love, loyalty and self-sacrifice that leave me speechless and in awe.
See you on Easter Sunday.