But I'm not Catholic, so the question remains — what to give up?
People are giving up Facebook for Lent. I like my Facebook account just fine, but I'm not that attached to it; I can (and sometimes do) go days without checking it. It would be easy, but that defeats the purpose.
People are giving up email, or the Internet. Can't do that; I've got too much that I do each day that has to be done via the Internet and email. I'd lose my job if I tried that, even for 40 days.
Food would be a good idea; my wife opined this morning that they must have named Fat Tuesday after me. But I've always thought it was cheating to use a holy fast to try to lose weight; it misses the point. So no to that one, too.
Finally I decided that I would give up something easily as precious as anything I've mentioned: time. Lent is meant to prepare you spiritually for the celebration of the Resurrection, so I am taking that seriously. Each day, a pause: contemplation, prayer, meditation, study. Being the church history geek that I am, I've chosen a Lenten reading schedule based on the writings of the fathers of the Early Church. I look forward to reading these writings in preparation for the celebration of Christianity's greatest holy day.