Last week, as we stood in the welcomed mild evening in an increasingly lengthening line for the next showing of Black Panther, I asked my boyfriend what he’d give up for Lent.
Now, yes, I’m Jewish by birth and by practice (though my father is a convert to Judaism), and my boyfriend is a relative agnostic with ancestral roots in Russian Orthodoxy… nonetheless! I felt influenced by the idea this year and thought it would be beneficial to consider a habit I’d like to curb.
He responded, “Worry.”
Ha! That brought a much deeper aspect to the exercise! (Although, truthfully, first he said, “Bread.”)
He specified, Worry about the Future. I liked this understanding. “I’ll give up worry about other people,” I proffered.
And so it is that we’re attempting to relinquish habits of mind that not only give us zero pleasure, but produce a wealth of ancillary negative thoughts, words, and actions.
(When I reported this resolution to a coworker, he began to laugh heartily. A Jew giving up worry was apparently like an Italian giving up hand gestures.)
As I continued to reflect on this attemped habit of mind, I realized that Lent and Adar overlap. Adar is the month in which the Jewish holiday of Purim falls and, in honor of the impending celebration (think “Jewish Halloween”), we are all to be as silly and joyful as possible in the weeks leading up to the day.
This struck me in two ways: Firstly, if Lent is represented by a hemming in of one’s vices (simplistic and naive as this interpretation is), then Adar’s hallmark is an intentional indulgence in said vices (ditto to above). Lent is for suffering; Adar is for gladdening.
Secondly, maybe this “giving up worry for Lent” is exactly what the Jews had in mind! Here is a people typified by anxious and neurotic haranguing of self and others — what would happen if we gave it up for a month?
So, unbeknownst to us, my boyfriend and I are now observing two religion’s practices —albeit in truly Adarian bastardization. 😉