Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the day the torture begins. I should be more pious. I know I should, but I dread the start of Lenten Season. My will power—such as it is—simply isn’t up to it.
I never minded the fasting and abstinence all that much. It helped me lose weight as I aged. It’s the giving up stuff for Lent that bugs me. Who came up with that anyway? I could have missed it, but I don’t remember seeing anything about it in scripture. So why do we have to give up something we like for Lent? Why can’t we just fast, abstain, and suffer hunger pangs?
No matter what I gave up as a child, even if I was underhanded and gave up something I didn’t like to begin with, I found myself craving it. I suspect divine punishment may have been involved.
My mother knew every tooth in my mouth was a sweet tooth. When I was little, she always suggested that I give up something sweet. Her suggestions were orders in disguise. Give up pudding. Give up candy. Give up cookies. Give up cake. Give up ice cream. [The Good Humor Man was bummed. I think I was financing his retirement.]
General Mom’s tactics changed when I grew into my teens. Give up watching American Bandstand. Give up playing my rock records. Give up listening to rock on the radio. Give up—wait a minute. I think I see a definite pattern there.
My memory—such as it is—isn’t up to it either. No matter how hard I try to remember not to eat meat on Fridays during Lent, I always forget at least once. Or twice. Maybe three times. Oh, for Heaven’s sake, who’s counting?
Desperate circumstances call for desperate measures. Every Thursday night, to be sure I see it first thing in the morning, I post a note on the refrigerator: NO MEAT TODAY. I post the same reminder on my iPhone to recur weekly just in case I don’t see the note. More often than not, despite these reminders, I suddenly remember that I shouldn’t be eating meat on Friday after taking several bites of the forbidden substance. There I am with a mouthful, and once I realize my mistake I have to decide on the merits of swallowing and sinning or spitting it out and wasting perfectly good food.
Easter cannot come soon enough. ::sigh:: Thirty-eight long, long days to go . . .