Since addiction is in the news today, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to implicate myself.
I’ve given up an addiction for Lent. Before I gave it up, I knew it was something I did just about every day. It’s an addiction that didn’t hurt anyone other than me. As far as I know, not only is it not illegal anywhere, it is almost nowhere, these days, even frowned upon. It’s completely harmless. I might even exaggerate a tiny bit and say everyone does it. But I gave it up.
I notice that my thoughts keep turning to this activity. I think through doing it again. But it’s more than my thoughts. My body wants to do it. My hands act like they have minds of their own. They want to do it.
Why not just give in and do it, since it’s harmless? I’m giving it up because it’s a waste of a limited resource – time. But that’s not the whole of it. It’s not always a waste of time – it’s something I can do while doing something else, even some productive things. I can divide my mind and use most of my mind on what is good, needing only a small portion for this harmless activity. At least that’s what I tell myself.
What can I do when I feel the urge, whether in my mind or in my hands? Do I agonize over my little desire? I could. I could play over and over my memories of doing this activity. But there’s another option. When I fast, I use the hunger pangs to remind me to pray, to seek God. I can use these inklings of desire to direct me to God, to seek his mercy, to pray for those in need.
What harmless activity had me in its grip? Something that will put me on the news with the other addicts? I don’t think so. It’s only computer solitaire. Klondike, to be more specific. Completely harmless. Yet completely a waste of time for me. Surely worth quitting for Lent.