Good Heavens, It’s Lent.
I’m sure as heck not a very religious adult, but I rather admire the religious kid I used to be.
I took Lent pretty darn seriously. Well, for six days a week for those six weeks, anyway. I’m not exactly sure why I thought that Sundays didn’t count. Jiminy Crickets, perhaps it was true, and the nuns told me that I could skip my sacrifices on Sunday. I don’t remember. But I do remember having more than one bleeping Hershey bar at my Babci’s on Sunday.
Yes, like most kids (and perhaps half of all freakin’ adults) I usually gave up candy for Lent. I tried once getting away with giving up only hard candy (which I didn’t like much anyway), but my mother informed me that it wasn’t a sacrifice if I didn’t give up my favorite kind of candy. Which for crissakes was chocolate. I also tried once to tell her that my Lenten sacrifice was personal and private, and that I shouldn’t have to tell her. Holy mackerel. That did not go over.
But Geez, there wasn’t a lot of choice for a child-friendly sacrifice. I didn’t really love much of anything else. Popcorn, maybe. But my mother made popcorn only once a week at most – and never during Lent – so that wasn’t a viable option. I loved my dolls, but heck, it didn’t seem fair to the dolls to put them in a closet for six weeks.
I couldn’t give up TV. I wanted to make a gosh-darn sacrifice. Not kill myself. Besides, my parents wouldn’t have given up the TV. And not only because they loved it themselves; the flipping TV set was about the only thing that kept us kids from killing each other.
And speaking of fighting: One year the nun told the class that we should do something for Lent that would have a more lasting effect than saving up the dad-gum chocolate for Easter Sunday. She told us to pick the sin that we had to confess most often, and to give up that motherlover for Lent. That maybe it would change us for good.
Holy Crap, fighting with my sisters and my little brother was not only at the top of my confession list, it was about the only blasted thing on my list. (Oh, for the simpler life of a poopy nine-year-old). I didn’t steal, I didn’t covet (whatever the heck that was), I didn’t skip Mass on Sundays. I didn’t lie much – I certainly did not consider it a sin to make my stories more interesting – that’s a fricking virtue, right?
So that year, I decided to give up my sibling fights for those six weeks. Let me tell you, the next year I gladly gave up darn chocolate again.
Then there was the year that the nun said that instead of giving UP something, you should effing DO something. Her suggestion was to pray more. Well, shucks, I liked praying. Not so much because I thought it did a lot of good, but because I had always liked the repetition and rhythm of prayers. Sort of like meditating I guess. But golly gee, if I already LIKED it, what kind of sacrifice is it to do more of it? Like accepting a second dang Hershey bar.
She also suggested making a donation to the poor. I had a winter scarf I really hated. It was crap-brown plaid. My mother made me wear it – along with a hat and mittens and boots and snow-pants and an extra sweater or two. I put the crap-brown plaid scarf in the poor box (I considered adding the cussed snow-pants too). At the end of the day, the nun retrieved the scarf and called my mother, which was completely blankety-blank unfair. I’m sure some poor kid somewhere would have worn that fugly scarf. A cold, fugly boy, maybe.
And even now that I am a fecking grown-up, son-of-a-gun if I don’t still like the idea of making a sacrifice during Lent. But I have already given up shopping for one whole geedee month (for monetary purposes, not Lent). And that’s one heckuva of a sacrifice, so I just didn’t know what for Pete’s sake I could choose.
Then this sucky laptop got some doggone malware. Golly, I was p’d off.
Jeepers Creepers! Was this a crappin’ sign? I couldn’t give up the freaking internet. No fugging way.
But I found something else to give up!
And I’m doing really bleeping well, don’t you think?
(PS: For a good post on Lent and Ash Wednesday – head on over to Pegoleg. Holy Crap, did she ever bring back memories. I hated the doggone ashes.)