Here’s A Story About The Year I Gave Up The Wrong Thing For Lent

Being a person of the Jewish faith, I’m not someone who normally worries about what to give up for Lent. (Obviously.)

One year, though, I did.

A huge chunk of my life ago–perhaps ten years back?–I was having a discussion with my closest friend at the time about what she would sacrifice for the season of Lent. She agonized over her decision (I think that’s part of the ritual, no?) and finally decided to forgo sweets for the duration.

I, being a good friend, decided to give up something, too. (Not “for Lent”, mind you, because sacrificing for Jesus is not something we Jews do, you know?) I decided to give up soda for the duration of Lent in order to be supportive of my friend, and because I thought that if I could give it up for the period of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, I could possibly give it up for good*.

As Lent went on, my friend and I whined to each other often about the struggle at hand and our desire to dive into a massive pile of cookies or a giant pool of Coca-Cola.

We were both successful, and yes, I did consume a 20-ounce bottle of soda the second I was given the “all clear”.

That year, Passover began immediately after Easter. During the eight days of Passover, Jews give up all “leavened” products. That means bread, bagels, crackers, cake, cookies, pancakes, waffles, and any other foods made with yeast are prohibited.

As I prepared for Passover, getting rid of the prohibited items and stocking up on things like eggs, yogurt, cheese, and produce, I suggested to my friend that it would be nice to “do” Passover together in the same way we teamed up for Lent.

“ARE YOU KIDDING????”, she exclaimed. “No way. That would be too hard for me!”

The thought of that moment annoys me even to this day, and no, we are not still friends**.

*That makes me giggle. I have since given up soda approximately eight times.
**Not because of that single episode, but the lack of reciprocal support was indeed a red flag.


©2011 Suburban Scrawl


  • Dawn

    for a lack of a better word, that so-called friend sucked. And I think I know which one it was??? Well, not 'know her know her' but you know what I mean, right? 😉

  • InnerFatGirl (Taryn)

    Yeah, your friend is a lamer. She also probably didn't tell you all of the Lent grey areas for giving up stuff.

    Did you take Sundays off? Did you know they priests give a special dispensation to not have to give stuff up on St. Patrick's Day?

    You ended up being a better Catholic than I ever have in 32 years of trying.

  • Patty @ A Day in My NYC

    My official statement of giving up stuff for Lent 2011: I am on a diet, so I give up stuff all the time. Why add more stress to myself? Besides whatever I give up I'm going to end of craving 100% times more (and wreck my diet) than I would if I didn't decide to give it up.

    P.S. What a sucky friend…I'd be annoyed by that response too.

  • Otter Thomas

    Your little stars were right. That is a big red flag. Very selfish of her, but good of you. I gave up sodas this year for lent. I miss my lunch time meeting with Mt. Dew already.

  • Tara R.

    Wow… that's taking one for the team. I'm giving up processed sugar this year (or attempting to). I'm only on day two and not sure I'll make it.

  • DrLori71

    This post is too funny. You see, I'm Jewish too, and I also gave up soda for Lent to support a friend. When Lent was over, I had a soda. But you know what? After not drinking it for so long, when I did, it it tasted nasty to me. Too sweet and syrupy. So I quit drinking soda for good. That was back in 1991…I've been soda-free for 20 years. I guess for a Jew, I'm pretty good at Lent! 😉

  • Heather E

    well guess what?! i can totally give that stuff up for you. this year for lent, i am giving up half my stomach. *smirks*

    i crack myself up!

    ps: i think that was really crappy of your friend. for real.