I love espresso. I love it by itself. But I love it most in my favorite coffee drink of all time—the Americano. More specifically, I love the five-shot, grande Americano I get at Starbucks two to three times a week. Today, I romanced my last Americano until Easter. Lent is upon us.
As I mentioned in a previous post, we don't really do Mardi Gras where I live. Ash Wednesday just arrives at mid-week sometime in February or March and we begin our season of penance. Today, though, I made sure to have that last cup and to eat those meat dishes I will certainly avoid tomorrow and on subsequent Fridays.
It took awhile to come up with my personal Lenten sacrifice. To be clear, though, it is not just the one drink from one coffee shop, it's all espresso and coffee shops in general. I will be confining myself to regular coffee which doesn't sound like much of a sacrifice, but I'll feel it. Coffee that isn't thick enough to walk on without the aid of a miracle just isn't coffee to me.
Still, the penance did seem a little light. Was there something I was missing? I thought, perhaps, there was and, God's will be done, I found it. This morning, as I was getting ready for work, I leaned down to kiss my daughter who was asleep on the sofa in our bedroom and, as I leaned back up, placed my hand squarely on my Kindle which was laying on the arm of the sofa—and broke the screen.
I like to think that I'm not really attached to the things of this world, that I have a achieved a certain level of asceticism in my life as a Christian. I like to think that and I would still be thinking it even now if I hadn't broken the Kindle. The pain that shot through my whole being was not just spiritual. It was a Gollum-esque feeling of "oh, my precious, my precious. The fates have stolen my precious!"
It was then that I realized, once again, that I am a tech junkie. Not a state-of-the art, first-adopter junkie, but I love my electronic gadgets and applications. I love my iPhone, my laptop, my satellite radio, my streaming device on my TV, my email, my Facebook, my blog and, yes, I loved my Kindle.
Sometimes, when my kids just aren't listening to me, I say "you can learn this the easy way or the hard way." They almost always get the message without me having to go any further. I think, somewhere, I missed God telling me that I could learn this the easy way and so he allowed that it would be delivered to me the hard way.
To my credit, I remembered to offer up that suffering, that feeling of loss, for the souls in Purgatory as I prayed my daily Rosary. It took all five decades until the pain in the pit of my stomach subsided. Sure, I'll replace the Kindle in the next month or so. But, for now, I'm going into Lent a little more self aware with a clear understanding that espresso isn't my only attachment to the material world and I'll be making some further sacrifices.