My cheating heart

Well, actually, it’s my cheating stomach we’ll be talking about today. In all the years I’ve been observing Lent, I have always, every single time, cheated at least once. Ok, honestly, at least many more times than once.

Seven weeks is a long time.

A long, long time.

I don’t have very much self control. Lent is good for me because I try to abstain from eating things that I really like to eat. And drink.  Every year, I keep track of the times I break the Fast.  I don’t usually write it down or anything, but I keep it in my head. This time, I’m writing it down because you can’t read my mind.

  1. I drank wine on a Friday.
  2. I drank wine on another Friday.
  3. I drank wine and ate desserts that were DEFINITELY not vegan at Shali’s.
  4. I ate veggie pot pie with asiago cheese and cream at Breitenbush.
  5. I ate yogurt at Breitenbush.
  6. I put pork and cheese in my burritos last Friday and Saturday.
  7. I ate shish kabob and rolled grape leaves with lamb in them on Sunday.

That’s it so far. I hope that’s it for the rest of Lent. That would awesome! That’s definitely the least amount of cheats EVER! Also, notice that eggs are not on that list. I’ve never made through the entire Lenten season without breaking down and eating scrambled eggs. Not ever.

A couple of notes on the cheats, as some of them were only marginal. First, I drank a small amount of wine and tasted desserts at a ladies’ night with my very good friends. I told Shali I was fasting and she provided a meal that gave me plenty of vegan choices. But when we all arrived, she offered us all wine and I didn’t want to say, “no thanks, I’m fasting.” I always try to avoid saying that at dinner parties. Father says the rule is that if you are at other people’s houses, you just graciously accept what is served and not worry about it. Of course, I could have simply said, “no thanks.” But everyone knows I love wine, and it was a festive gathering and I just didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, so there it is. When the desserts were passed around, we split them up and each had a bite, and again, I didn’t want to stand out. Now at Brietenbush, I ate the yummy pot pie before I realized there were completely vegan choices available (quinoa and sauteed greens). After that, I was easily able to keep the Fast. Except for the yogurt. That was a special case. I missed breakfast on Sunday (lazy, lazy, lazy bones). When I got to the Lodge, they were cleaning up, and a fellow who works there saw me and made a point of offering me the yogurt with fixins. So I said “thank you,” and had a bowl. I felt that accepting his generosity was more important than avoiding dairy.  And as I said before, I always break the Fast at least once to eat some red meat and replenish my iron, or whatever it is I lack that makes me anemic.

Maybe I should call this post “Rationalizations 101.”

Ok, now about that wine. In the past, I’ve cheated every single Friday by drinking on Friday nights. I just said to myself, “Friday is part of the weekend!” Ugh! Anyway, I have no rationalizations, excuses or even reasons why I drank wine on two Fridays this Lenten Season. I just didn’t have the self control not to.

As for the cheese, well, burritos are supposed to have cheese in them and I guess I just thought, “since I’m putting pork in the burrito, I might as well put the cheese in too.” Not a great reason. But maybe not a terrible one either.

So the thing about all this is, I’m trying to learn to make the effort and pay attention to my failed attempts, but not to get too down on myself. I like to think that God appreciates our efforts, even when we fall short. Also, I think he’s pretty much expecting us to fall short sometimes. Of course, I bet there’s lots of people out there who keep the Fast completely and totally, year after year, but they probably still make mistakes sometimes. (I’m operating on the assumption that we all do. Every single one of us.)

So, here’s my prayer:

“Lord, thank you for self-awareness. Thank you for my ability to grow and learn and try hard, knowing that I will fail sometimes. Please help me to keep on trying, again and again, even when I’m discouraged, even when I feel like throwing in the towel. Also, thank you for scrambled eggs, I’m looking forward to eating them again!”


About LeilaPiazza

I am a wife and mother. I am an Orthodox Christian. I am a Syrian American with family living in Syria. I am a also a yoga teacher and freelance writer. I recently described myself in a job pitch as "a person who's lived in Portland, Oregon for over 20 years with a passion for writing and a passion for all things Portland. I'm a foodie, knitter, wine and beer lover, bee-keeper (yep, I said it), mead and fruit-liqueur maker, organic gardener, home-canner, hiker, biker, runner, and occasional skinny-dipper. I’ve camped all over the state, I sail a sailboat that’s moored on the Columbia (o.k., I'm the first mate), and I spend a large percentage of my time at our beach house in Seaside." That about sums it up.
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2 Responses to My cheating heart

  1. goblinbox says:

    I think that accepting food offered to you can reasonably be removed from the Rationalizations list. Going out specifically to seek yogurt is a completely different state than finding yourself on the receiving end of some random human being’s generosity.

    I have been known to eat gravy at other people’s houses, even though I’ve been a vegetarian for over twenty years, because the greater sin would be to reject someone’s hospitality. Being on the receiving end of generosity is harder by far than giving, and the lesson has to be learned. Perhaps that’s what’s happening to you this season, with all these people offering you things you’re avoiding!

  2. Leila says:

    You know I agree with everything you said, Mush. Maybe it is the receiving generosity part that has me feeling guilty. I should feel totally fine about it. Gosh golly gee whiz. So many lessons. So little time!

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