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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A common sacrifice

Well, it's Ash Wednesday again. It was Christmas last week. And now here it is, Ash Wednesday and 40 days til Easter, give or take a Holy Saturday. Then comes Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor day, Halloween and...yeah, you get the drill.

So many people are wandering around today starting conversations with "what are you giving up for Lent?" I considered work but where's the sacrifice in that? It's kind of like when we were kids and we gave up stuff we didn't like...I gave up raw onions every year, interspersed with dark chocolate. Although I've matured into a taste for dark chocolate the raw onions remain on my shit list, btw.

My younger son and I, btw, decided to give up soda. There is nothing we like better late in the evening that that big, cold, icy jolt of diet cola and, well, yeah, I don't think water will give the same boost but this, I figure, DOES actually make it a sacrifice and so it'll be worth the 40 days.

Someone actually told me "oh, I decided to get up early and go to the gym three days a week." This, by my feeling, is a classic "unclear on the concept" habit. In the first place, that's not a Lenten sacrifice, it's your New Year's resolution, the one you dropped in late January and suddenly remembered when you got the bill for the gym membership in February you twit.

I got to thinking about this. The fact that I too, for all my "look at me, I'm a big, fat Catholic and I have ashes on my forehead so I'm holier that you are today" attitude, tend to look upon the dietary laws of Lent as an excuse to have mango chili glazed salmon with Thai noodles on Friday night which, I have a hunch, isn't really the objective. On the other hand, if not...what? There must be some sort of sacrifice land that sits squarely between tuna casserole and broiled lobster tails. A kind of neutral, meatless territory and fulfills the idea of actually GIVING UP meat for one freaking day a week while providing nourishment to my over 6 foot tall family and not stopping my heart with a pound of Velveeta. Perhaps a quinoa casserole or some sort?

Then I got to remembering someone I once knew and am, frankly, happy I no longer do because I have NO freaking CLUE what I was thinking when I decided she was a good friend, I think I must have been vulnerable, lonely or drunk, all of which she later accused me of being, but I digress...

Anyway, she always lectured people on why she was better than all of us because she didn't give up anything for lent but instead, she dragged her already troubled children to the church soup kitchen where they donated time to those less fortunate than themselves, mainly: everybody (at least in her mind because, who among us doesn't vocally brag about what good mothers we are while taking our 2nd graders to their twice a week therapy sessions). And, okay, I've got no problems with helping out. Habitat people, you rock. But this is what bothered me. She does this for Lent. Because, apparently, between Easter Sunday and the next year's Shrove Tuesday, no one needs anything. At least not from HER. I find it difficult to wrap my wee widdle gin-soaked brain around the concept that one can see need, see hunger, see homelessness and want and then walk away from it 40 days later and feel satisfied.

But then, the check is a bitch who claims to believe in karma, mostly because some friend of hers believes in karma. I read something recently: Karma's only a bitch if YOU are. Sums it up, no?

Anyway, back to Lent. I'm starting to amuse myself by planning my Easter dinner and agonizing over why my apartment is such a horrible mess considering that a whole bunch of people got notices taped to their doors warning of a 24 hour inspection for some sort of financial analysis or something that's going to take place tomorrow and they didn't give US one which makes me wonder. Either they're only going to show apartments they know they actually repaired (we have a window taped shut, it's been like that over a year now) or they want to pop in on us unannounced so they can say "this place is a shit hole and you agreed to keep it up and we want you to move" because, well, after the last few years, that's just the way I think. If I see a cop, I think he's after me. If someone knocks I think they want money. If I see a tow truck, I figure they want my car. I know, a life lived in fear...

Unfortunately, it the only one I have at the moment. Maybe that's my real Lenten sacrifice.

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