Is it really a sacrifice if you give up the same thing for Lent every year? Does voluntarily forcing myself to eschew chai tea in any form (latte, herbal, in cakes or cookies, etc) do anything for the world at all? Isn’t it better to try to *do* something good rather than to give something up?
These are all questions I’ve heard, or thought about on my own, during the past week. But the ultimate answer to all of this is: I’m still giving up chai for 40 days. Because, when I vow to try to do something, like many people, I’m usually good at doing it super intensely for all of 48 hours before I get too overwhelmed with everything else in my life to keep it up. Giving something up appeals to my affinity for tradition and is also something I can be sure I will realistically do. And part of Lent is its duration: giving up chai is easy for a few days, hard after a couple of weeks, and then really difficult around day 30, when it seems like the days of without chai will never end.
OK, yes, this reveals a more than natural (or healthy) obsession with a certain type of spiced black tea. But whatever. We all have our own little obsessions.
But won’t this make you even more of a chai monger than usual, Kristina? you ask. To which I reply: The important thing is not the obsession, or the “character” you can build by giving up something you love and take for granted in your daily life.
I have not been the best about going to mass on a weekly basis for a while now, for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons are good. Some of them involve laziness. Regardless of the reason, however, when I give something up for Lent, I’m reminded of what I believe in and why multiple times a day.
In other words, despite the fact that it’s a bit trite and trivial to be giving up a certain brand of tea, every time I crave chai and force myself not to drink it, I remember why it is I’m doing that… which is really the point, after all.