Remember to Clean the Lent Trap

I fell off the blog wagon for a while (surprise, surprise), but I have a plan.  It’s Lent once again and I am going to give myself a lenten challenge – 40 days, 40 entries!  I’ve always been horrible at doing the whole Lent thing.  So I thought I’d have a better chance of DOING something than NOT DOING something.

I was raised Catholic, but I could have really benefitted from remedial Catholicism.  What really floors me is the fact that I went through eight years of Catholic school so I should have been awesome at it!  But I was never really good at the whole “being Catholic” thing – except the guilt part.  I was always very gifted at feeling guilty.  Gold medalist.   As for the other stuff, not so much.

I always used too much holy water and doused my head like a suicidal vampire upon entering the church.  I tripped entering the pews, dropped the kneeler with a resounding bang, coughed and gagged at the smell of the incense, responded to prayers with the wrong Catholic-y catch phrases, sang the wrong words to the hymns way too loud.  And I always had a strange feeling of performance anxiety when I went up for communion.  There were so many reasons why you weren’t allowed to partake in the holy halftime snacks: if you didn’t show up to mass on time, if you’d eaten within an hour of communion, if you had missed mass the previous week, if you forgot to replace the toilet paper when the roll ran out, if you were a Patriots fan…okay so the last couple were an exaggeration…but you really shouldn’t be a Patriots fan.  If you were guilty of any of these infractions, you were barred from doing the bread and wine thing until you went to confession and made amends.  I didn’t always make these amends (I’d go to confession, but I was bad at that too – I never told all the really bad stuff I did!  My grandfather was the lead usher and my grandmother was the president of the Altar & Rosary Society – word would have gotten back to them and I would have felt the full wrath of Italian Catholic justice!) and I would go up anyway and I could see it in the priest’s eyes that he was going to let me eat the little wafer but he knew I did not deserve it.  He said, “Body of Christ” but his eyes said, “I saw you swallow your gum while you were standing in line you flaming heathen!”  I took my ill-gotten bit of bread, lowered my eyes, and shuffled to the wine chalice where I found myself under the scrutiny of one of the church elders who was trying to decide whether I was trying to bring myself closer to God or sneak free booze.  **On a side note: have you ever tried to take the communion bread down in one swallow like a pill with a shot of the wine?  Don’t.  It can’t be done.  It will get lodged in your throat.  You’ll choke and spit it out and the wine will come out your nose…so I’ve heard…**

But of all of the Catholicness that I engaged in, I was the worst at Lent.  I love fish, but on days that I’m only supposed to eat fish, I don’t want it – I’ll grab a burger.  Ash Wednesday kicks off the whole Lent shindig, but once when I was unable to go to the mass, I burned a napkin and drew on my forehead myself (apparently it’s not okay to make your own at-home priest kit).  And the 40-day sacrifices usually don’t go so well.  I gave up getting angry when driving, which totally would have worked if everyone else in my town gave up driving on the same roads as me.  I gave up swearing a couple times – once I was very successful but I was told it didn’t count since my friend and I bet money on who would do the best (apparently it’s not okay to gamble on Lent).  The other time, when no money was on the line, I wasn’t very #*&@% successful.  I tried giving up coffee, luckily I didn’t give up swearing that year because my lack of caffeine led to a serious increase in my profanity output.

So, since quitting ain’t my schtick, so let’s try creating things for 40 days!  Of course, starting out my Lenten season with a satire of my Catholic roots, probably didn’t earn me many points.  However, since lightning hasn’t struck me yet, I should be cleared to write tomorrow’s blog.

“I kinda don’t do guilt.  I gave it up for Lent years ago.” ~ Greg Boyle

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