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40 Nights & 40 Days

Easter is a complicated holiday, especially when considering Lent as well. This whole season is especially weird to kids raised in the 90s Catholic school system of New Orleans. A religious holiday is hard to understand for kids outside of the physical actions and objects. Christmas is midnight mass and gifts. Easter is Good Friday mass and Easter Sunday, and then candy. Fasting for Lent by comparison means fast food fish sandwiches instead of burgers, because that’s all a kid can understand.

Lent as a time of sacrifice was not really thought about personally until I was a teenager, but by that time Catholic school had 180’d me away from Christianity. Therefore I viewed Lent and Easter as almost meaningless. Another year, another stations of the cross basically. Things got really interesting when The Passion of The Christ was in theaters. My entire 8th grade class was brought to the Grand movie theater to watch this Mel Gibson creation as a field trip. Imagine a hundred something 13 and 14 year olds sobbing due to the violence. Catholic school was great, right.(?)

Lent only became meaningful once my worldview was broadened. I was able to understand it more as a time of self control and self betterment after I learned about Ramadan and other religious fasting traditions. This led me to the last Lent fast I decided in 2020, abstaining from alcohol. Then my dad said during the earliest part of the pandemic, “Ian, its a pandemic. Lent doesn’t really matter. Drink if you want,” followed by something along the lines of “after covid is gone.” And here I am in 2022 with Covid still around in the world, a lack self control, and not caring about Lent.

Those weren’t the only casualties lost to the strangeness of the last two years. My passion for writing and creating was at an all time low. I felt like Josh Hartnett in 40 Days and 40 Nights(a great Easter film), but instead of losing my sex drive I suffered my most terrible case of writers block in recent times. Then I remembered the ending, and how he committed himself to his own personal Lent and time of sacrifice. That’s when I decided to commit myself to my own 40 nights.

40 Nights of creating for the joy of creating. 40 nights not focused on outside influences or distractions, because joy of self is especially needed in our current times. And most of all, 40 nights remembering that that particular joy can only materialize after sacrifices are made, and time is dedicated and minds are focused. It is time to work. #BetterLateThanNever

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