The Tate Way

it’s worked so far

The Tate Manifesto: Have to vs. Want to February 6, 2008

With today being Ash Wednesday, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Since I was raised Roman Catholic Ash Wednesday has always meant the start of “No Meat” Fridays (along with no meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday; and sometimes Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday for good measure) and 40 days of sacrifice.

When I was younger I would dread giving up something for 40 whole days. It would be something I didn’t really favor that much, like chocolate (there was a time when I HATED chocolate). I gave it up because I HAD to not because I wanted to.

Then last year happened. For the first time in about 5 or 7 years (but who’s counting) I went to Ash Wednesday church services with a group of coworkers. I was reminded that the reason I abstain, fast, and repent is because I want to honor the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus fasted and prayed before spreading the word of God. If Jesus did it for me I can do it for him!

No, I’m not going to go around spreading the word of God; I do that everyday through my beliefs and morals and how I project them into the world. But I will abstain from a number of things this Lenten season:

  1. No meat on Fridays (the standard, I do this every year)
  2. No caffeine (I started this last month, so I’ll keep it going)
  3. No high fructose corn syrup (may seem VERY random, but it’s not)
  4. No alcohol
  5. No fast food

I WANT to give these things up. I want to clear my body of things it does not need; things that make it (me) some degree of unhealthy. None of the above are vices for me (well maybe the high fructose corn syrup), but they are inhibitors of one kind or another. Inhibitors = BAD!

So, the moral of the story: Do things/follow traditions because you want to not because you have to. You’ll be a happier person for it.

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3 Responses to “The Tate Manifesto: Have to vs. Want to”

  1. Beth Says:

    Strange, I was just thinking about this on the car ride on my way in today. I heard about this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7226488.stm

    and was really inspired.

    Also, Jean lent me The Year of Living Biblically which is highly relevant to your post. If you are down here soon, see if you can borrow it from her; it was amazing.

    Good luck, trooper.

  2. Anna Says:

    I went to Ash Wednesday service, too, and I got the most intense ash cross on my forehead that I’ve ever had in my whole life. The priest who gave it to me was SO ENTHUSIASTIC with the ashes. I had to scrub it off before I went to bed. But two of my coworkers and I went to Mass at a very pretty church near our work and we saw Matthew McConaughey along the way, which was pretty great. As my friend Mary said in her Gawker Stalker post, “The Lord really does reward the faithful.”

    Your list of things you’re giving up for Lent put mine to shame. I’m just giving up fast food. I’m actually just going to try to pray more and be nicer and think about my relationship with God. Good luck with the Lenten promises!

  3. […] up way too much and set myself up for failure.  I tried but really didn’t try to stick to these goals.   So this year to redeem myself and show REAL self control I’ll be going […]


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