I gave up alcohol and sweets for Lent. It has been VERY challenging, and at first, I wasn't entirely sure I could do it. I had given up sweets in the past, so I knew that was not going to be a problem, so I really wanted to challenge myself. And out of all the Lents, this was the worst one to pick giving up alcohol.
Someone very close to me died exactly forty days ago today (on Fat Tuesday). He gave the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE- he died a hero for our country in Afghanistan. Let me tell you, it has been the hardest forty days of my life and not a day has gone by that I don't think about him. While I was dealing with his death, my friend Jill shared this photo and quote with me. I think it is so very relevant today and especially so at this time of year.
Only two men have offered to give their lives for you... Jesus and the American Soldier
My mom reminded me that I can drink at midnight tonight (officially the end of Lent). And to be honest, I am quite reluctant to do so. I feel really good about not drinking for forty days. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an alcoholic or anything, but it's empowering to know that even though I have been surrounded by it, I have been able to resist the temptation. And believe me have I been surrounded by it. Dinners, going out, happy hour after work, everyone trying to pressure me in having a drink... It really made me see how much alcohol can be part of your life, and I can understand why it would be hard for alcoholics to quite when they are constantly reminded and surrounded by it.
These last forty days have also given me insight into who my friends are. When someone is going through a hard time, you really find out who is there for you, and who really means it. I have been surprised to learn that the people who care about me most, are not the friends that I see on a regular basis and those who I have known for a long time, but rather, those whom I have just recently met and those who are away.
Some of the friends I would have expected to understand and help me with this, have not done so. I even told one friend about the situation and never heard back from her. On the other hand, my friends who live out in California have been so wonderful, and my newest friend Jill has been there every step of the way with me. She went to the funeral with me, even though she never new Dan. It just goes to show that one of your closest friends can be one of your newest friends.
I hope that we don't lose sight of what Lent and Easter is all about. It is easy to think that we are just giving up something for the sake of it, and then indulging on Easter. We can't forget the ultimate sacrifice- that Jesus gave his life for us so that we all may live again.
Rest in Peace and may God bless you SGT. Daniel Thompson