Coffee? Chocolate? Cigarettes? Caffeine? Candy? Coca-Cola? Cake?
All of these are things people typically sacrifice during Lent as they seek to affirm their faith, and each one is truly admirable. Giving up caffeine and cigarettes can be particularly trying given the physiological response to the absence of caffeine and nicotine in the body. While I respect those whose determination causes them to choose difficult sacrifices, I confess that what I really want to give up for Lent is cleaning out my car.
Tennis racquets, cans of used tennis balls, an assortment of tennis shoes, and trekking poles are among the detritus usually visible through the car windows. My Hospice vest and ID badge are consigned to the hook by the left rear window, or I would never arrive for volunteer service suitably attired. The passenger side floor is nearly always littered with empty water, and sometimes soda, bottles. Being forever on my way to or from the public library, there is always a pile of books in the front seat to be carried into the house or deposited in the book return. CDs and their cases are strewn across the back seat, along with the sun protector, assorted clothing, and anything else that doesn’t fit in the passenger seat.
I suppose it is akin to a teenager’s bedroom on wheels, and I am comfortable ignoring the interesting array of items surrounding me on my journey. Only when the mess gets completely out of control do I reluctantly undertake a cleaning spree.
Several years ago my nephew attempted to ride home with me after a baseball game. He opened the back door of my car and came face to face with an all-but-insurmountable pile of debris. “Julie, when do you clean out your car?” was his indignant cry. Then, as now, I wished the answer was “never.”