So we’re a couple weeks into Lent, the process of spiritual cleansing and denial that prepares us for Easter. How are those Lenten resolutions coming, gentle reader?
I made 3 resolutions for myself:
(1) keep a fast for Lent
(2) adding at least an hour of Mass or adoration per week
(3) making a donation to a worthy charity
I’m sad to report mixed results so far. I took care of number three last week.
Number two hasn’t gone so well. I failed the first (short) week of Lent, but have time to refocus on that resolution and get back into gear. I’ve never been a particularly good pray-er, though sometimes I wonder if anyone feels like they are good pray-ers. Still, if I believe that practice makes perfect– and I want to be as perfect as a guy can be– then I need to spend more time practicing my holiness.
Number one. Oh, number one. The fast. grumblegrumblegrumble. Heh. Truthfully, the fast hasn’t been so hard thusfar. Oh, save your jokes about why camels have humps and other fat-guys-fasting yuks. But all-in-all, it’s not been as hard as I think it should have been. Scaling back breakfast has been one concern since I don’t really eat big breakfasts anyway. How do you eat half a bowl of cereal? Half a bowl of cereal just doesn’t look like fasting. But can’t skip breakfast and still be ready to work, so I have to have something in the morning. Lunch is easy to fast through: if I have an apple and glass of water, that’s usually enough to recharge my day.
Dinner is its own problem though. Under the general rules of fasting, people can have 1 full meal and 2 smaller meals that do not add up to a meal. It’s a little subjective. What is a full meal? Is a full meal made up of an appetizer, salad, entree-and-two-sides, dessert and after-dinner drinks?
That is the real temptation of fasting: to go overboard on the one-full-meal of the day. And on those days when you’re not sitting down to a proper supper at the family table, it gets even more murkey. In non-fasting times, dinner on those nights where I have to fend for myself might be made up of some leftover pasta, a dish of creamed corn, a slice of bread slathered with barbeque sauce and a 1/2 inch slice of Velveeta cheese (some elements of bachelorhood never go away). Who’s to know if I add a leftover waffle or hot dog to the mix? It’s such an irregular dinner that there’s no shame in chasing the whole thing with a second slice of Velveeta. Does that count as one full meal? Six meals? *sigh*
Today, however, there is no question. I’m breaking the fast today. Lent’s off for the next dozen hours or so. Today is one of those days where you wake up at 4 AM full of snot and slobber gasping for breath across your swollen tonsils. Sorry if that’s too much icky detail, but sometimes life is full of icky details.
So I started this morning with a pre-sunrise hot bowl of grits, a liberally-sized glass of orange juice and a second glass of V8 to boost my Vitamin-C to about 400% of my recommended daily allowance. Then I followed up with some leftover mac & cheese. And I feel great! Well, I feel better.
Some people would say that I should just live with the sickness and offer it up to the Lord. And in principle, I agree. But illness also precludes the usual rules of fasting– and I have an obligation to my wife to get some work done today that I can’t do if I’m slobbering into another box of Kleenex and watching The West Wing reruns all morning.
Oh, The West Wing reruns stopped an hour ago? Er, well, um. Yeah. Time to take another dose of cold medicine and get at it today. I should start with picking up these used kleenex tissues. It looks like someone sideswiped a homecoming float in here.
Have a blessed and fruitful Lent.