Wednesday, March 23, 2016

366 Project - Day 83 - "Tea is NOT Coffee"


March 23, 2016 - "Tea is NOT Coffee"

Today is "Spy Wednesday". It marks Judas' betrayal as he accepts thirty pieces of silver from the high priests and awaits his opportunity to turn Jesus over to them. (See Matthew 26:14-16)

Today is also the last day before the start of the Holy Triduum, which cumulates with the celebration of the Resurrection - and thus the end of the Lenten season.

What does this have to do with "tea not being coffee", you ask?

Simply put: I gave up "coffee" for Lent.

That in and of itself is nothing significant. Lots of people give up drinking coffee for Lent. Others give up chocolate... or soda... or all sweets... or television... or whatever. It's meant to be done as an act of penance - and therefore should be something that truly will serve as a reminder to be penitent each day of the Lenten season.

For me that is coffee. It's very hard for me to even imagine a morning without coffee. Or an afternoon without coffee. Or an evening without coffee. I usually drink a pot of coffee a day... and almost always order coffee when we're dining out, or stop at a Dunkin Donuts for coffee when we're out and about on our errand runs or what have you. Coffee is a constant part of my day. Just like my iPhone - if I don't have coffee nearby, I feel... well... "naked".

I actually like tea. I prefer a good southern-style sweet tea served over ice with a bit of mint in it - but that's besides the point. I like tea... but tea most certainly is NOT coffee. Every morning since Ash Wednesday I have woken up to a cup of tea only to be reminded of how "not coffee" it is. I've also been limiting how much tea I drink - so most of the time when I would normally be grabbing the coffee pot I find myself grabbing the jug of water from the fridge instead. Water is NOT coffee either.

Throughout the day, with each sip of tea or water or whatever - I realize that it is not coffee and that something is different about this moment... this day... this season. With each sip I am reminded of "why" it is not coffee that I am drinking... and I take a moment to focus on that "why".

But "giving up something for Lent" is only a very small portion of the Lenten Season. It's meant to be a mere physical/daily reminder of the need for penance. There is so much more to the days that make up Lent - and it's actually more about "giving" than it is "giving something up". Throughout the season we focus on three things: Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

This Lent has been a particularly special one for me. Many changes have occurred - from spending approximately an hour each day in prayer, including praying the Rosary daily... to making a weekly Holy Hour with the Blessed Sacrament, and all sorts of positive changes in between. I begin and end each day with prayer and the reading of Scripture. I pray... I fast... I give alms - and in-between I actively work on strengthening my relationship with God.

Now Lent draws to an end. Tomorrow is Holy Thursday. The following day is Good Friday. Saturday night will be the Easter Vigil Mass... and Sunday is the celebration of the Resurrection, and the start of the Easter Season.

Am I looking forward to having a cup of coffee on Sunday? Yes, I most certainly am.

Yet part of me will very much miss the sips of tea.

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