Blessed and thankful for the gift of life. Today is the first day of Lent. For the past 34 years, I have been celebrating lent. It all started with a dare from a dear friend.
As you may not know, I am a Chocoholic and quite proud of it. I eat chocolate every single day of the year. Chocolate bars hiding in most drawers of my house. I am the person that would make and eat until the last smudge is gone, a kilo, two something pounds, of Chocolate Mousse. Get sick with a real ” Crise de Foie” or liver crisis, a very well know French illness of Monday morning, and continue eating chocolate like nothing ever happened.
Mind you; I am also picky about my chocolate selection. Dark chocolate, no milk, thank you. Sometimes with nuts, hazelnuts, and almonds are my favorites. Are you writing all this down? My birthday is just around the corner. Raspberry and sea salt made the cut too and are quite prevalent on my latest purchase.
How it all started.
So here I am sitting with friends discussing lent and what they were doing during this period. Somehow the conversation turned to me and my consumption of chocolate. My first thought was: “What is it to you my chocolate enjoyment?”. The conversation went on and on, and somehow, I was dared that I will never make it through Lent. 40 days without chocolate. Quick math in my mind, not bad a month and a half, I can do this. I can prove that I can do it! What are 40 days after all, right? Why not give up something that I enjoy in thanks to all the blessings that I have received? A minuscule sacrifice. I am in!!
Well, in actuality, it is 47 days if you count Sundays—the hardest thing I ever did. I had no idea how much I craved it and how desperate I became when I could not have it. My body went through withdrawals.
Furthermore, everywhere I turned chocolate was calling my name. By the end of Lent, I was not the same person. I remember my friends not inviting me to their house, my coworkers buzzing around me, and in fear of making eye contact with me. My roommate’s schedule changed all of a sudden or was staying more at her boyfriend’s house. Thankfully we did not have all the social media of today, or nobody will ever speak to me ever again.
I made it, or I will not be writing this. The first bite of sinful chocolate touched my lips, and it was divine. My chocolate enjoyment is still there. I still have my everyday taste into that dark chocolate morsel that is calling my name. The moment came, and the moment went, but I do remember how wonderful it felt inside. Therefore I decided to give up chocolate every year. A thank you for all the love and greatness.
Why do I give up three things now?
Let me take you back to 2001. January 2001, I was pregnant with my daughter, Francesca. Happy as all moms can be, and after a miscarriage, I was walking on water. I was in the car on my way to work and stopped at the light. The light turns green, and I always look before entering the intersections, even though I have the green light. Hence, from the corner of my eyes, I see this car coming, and out of nowhere, this hand was placed on my chest and held me back. My foot stepped hard on the break. I felt a hand, and I remember feeling my grandmother next to me.
This blue car went right through the red light. I could see her clearly, and even worse, I could see what could have been her two years old baby in the back seat. She drove past me no more than 3 inches from my bumper.
Would I have not being held back and stopped? None of us would be alive. She would have hit my driver’s side, going 35 miles per hour. Blessed and thankful and the gift of life number one.
April 2001. Seven months pregnant. All of a sudden, I started swelling up like a balloon. I am holding water and toxines, and my baby is under stress. Blood pressure went to 202 over 198. I remember the doctor telling me that he should not be having a conversation with me, but I should be either in bed with a massive stroke or death. Furthermore, he added that all this was not good for my baby, and it was a matter of time, hours before one of us or both of us would die, and we had to deliver her now at 30 weeks. We were in the hands of the best doctors and the best hospital in the nation for premie babies.
We got into the OR as fast as we could as all the vitals started going down. However, our daughter died from complications not foreseen during pregnancy the day after. Thankful to have been in the hands of a fantastic team that did everything they could. Blessed and thankful and the gift of life number two.
September 11, 2001. Boston Logan airport early morning flight back to Arizona. Security was non-existent as the TSA ladies were chatting away and not checking the passengers. At the gate, two flights were departing, mine to Denver, the other 14 minutes late for Los Angeles. Early morning coffee. Chatting with military passengers from the Los Angeles flight. At my gate, everyone boarded, and I was moved to the Los Angeles flight. I was not having it. The gate door was open, and I decided to run down the tarmac. I got to the plane and slipped through as they were closing the door. 14 minutes. Blessed and thankful and the gift of life number three.
Why did I choose chocolate, coffee, and coke?
I am still here standing, enjoying a beautiful life. My Guardian Angel worked overtime that year to keep me alive. So my giving up something in my way to be thankful.
I choose what I love and crave. I will miss it. Something that I enjoy every day. As you may have discovered, I am in love with chocolate and have a fantastic relationship with it. Coffee is no far behind. Every morning I crave that intense dark, flavorful, full body and thick as tar espresso. It is all I can think of early in the morning. Every day I have two to three small cups. Consequently, each lent my espresso machine goes away, tea replaces it.
Coca-cola is my third weakness, although now, after 19 years, I do not drink it as much; I still keep it as the original pack three.
Most of all, I look forward to this time of year to be thankful for all the blessings bestowed upon family and me.