Lent 2015: Giving up is hard to do (especially when it comes to tea)

Giving up tea for CAFOD for Lent
Enjoying my last cup of tea until Easter

Sarah works in CAFOD’s campaigns team.

It’s been nearly two weeks since I starting cutting out tea for Lent, in a quest to raise money for CAFOD’s Lent appeal and gain support for our One Climate, One World campaign.

Progress so far

Money raised: £326.76  (you can still sponsor me!)

Petition signatures reported: 10 (you can still sign our climate petition!)

Cups of tea not drunk: approx 60

Lessons learnt from this challenge: 6 – and here they are….

Lesson one: Giving up is hard to do.

This challenge has renewed my respect for the all the ex-smokers, the non-drinkers and the vegetarians who have said goodbye to bacon butties for the sake of the planet. I know that by Easter I’ll have a steaming cup of tea in my hand again, but to give up something forever, wow, that takes commitment.

Lesson two: I’m not sure this challenge is making me a better person – yet.

“When you fast, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do,” says Jesus in Matthew’s gospel. But I have succumbed to looking little gloomy in the last few days, or at least to moaning about my headaches and grumbling about drinking water yet again.

In the coming weeks of Lent, I’m going to try harder to remember how blessed I am to have good health, clean water to drink and people around me who love me despite my gloominess.

Lesson three: My mum is a legend

Well, of course I knew that already. But my mum has been going the extra mile in shamelessly persuading friends, family and even her upstairs neighbour to sponsor me and support the campaign. Thanks mum!

Lesson four: Fundraising can be addictive

Maybe ‘addictive’ isn’t the best word to use in this context, but I’ve have found that, even though campaigning is my first love, fundraising has cast an unexpected spell over me. As I watch the donation total rise to meet my target and go beyond, it gets more and more exciting.

Because I’m doing something as minor – in the grand scheme of things – as giving up tea, people are giving money to CAFOD, which in turn will go to help some of the world’s poorest communities meet their needs, support themselves and speak out for their rights. It’s a pretty good feeling.

Lesson five: I am not alone

Usually when I tell people about cutting out tea, there is a sharp intake of breath, a rolling of eyes or a sympathetic sigh. It’s a cliché, but a true one, that we are a nation of tea-drinkers, and most of us can’t ever imagine giving it up.

Lesson six: We are all Pharisees at heart

Pharisees get a bad press in the Bible for being more concerned the letter of the law than trying to live faithfully. Yet we are all a bit like the Pharisees in our obsession with what ‘counts’.

People ask me: do Sundays count? (yes), does decaf tea count? (yes), do coffee, hot chocolate or herbal tea count? (yes, yes and yes). My rules for this challenge are fairly random, but they are the ones that feel right, like it’s a true challenge. It all counts.

There’s 33 days to go.

Can I count on your support?

Give to CAFOD – This year all donations to CAFOD’s Lent appeal will be matched pound by pound by the UK government, up to the value of £5 million.

Support One Climate, One World  It’s takes just a minute to sign our petition to all party leaders calling for action on climate change.

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