Ah Lent. The time when Catholics moan, fret and freak out about what they have “given up” for Lent… how difficult it is to not eat chocolate or not drink coffee (or tea, or beer) and/or how cranky and miserable they are… Then there are those who are rejoicing that they have made it through the first two days without falling off that wagon… oh the joy of being Catholic…
Day 3: Friday. For Lent this year I decided to do a liquid fast on Fridays: meaning, obviously, I can only drink my meals, not eat… so coffee is okay (I refuse to give that up… so yeah, that means maybe at some point I should)… for breakfast I made a milk shake with milk, a banana, peanut butter and a splash of hazelnut creamer zapped in the blender. Mmmm. To work I brought V8 and fruit juice to drink. Yes I will drink drink drink all day (and go to the bathroom… a lot!)… but wait… when the sun sets and the Knights of Columbus’ fish fry commences at St Thomas Aquinas Parish I will FEAST! Yes I can… because the fast will be over at sunset. So far so good at 11:00 AM… but just wait until everyone else is eating lunch next period… O.o
Besides my liquid fasts on Friday I have been trying to learn how to pray the Ignatian Examen Prayer … though I realize I have been praying it to a small extent anyway… but this exercise I believe will bring me closer to God which is, of course, the whole point. By praying this I am recognizing God working in every aspect of my life and at all times. I am paying attention to his voice and reacting (thanking, praising Him). I DO see Him working in my life, helping me, answering prayers and placing good people in my life at the right moment… to SEE that and to recognize Him in the moment… that is a blessing… at this time when I am still learning how to do my job and trying to remember everything… I know I really need him. I am blown away by his grace.
Another “thing” I am “doing” for Lent actually came upon me (Epiphany) in the grocery store (see I did not forget the topic/title of this blog!). On Wednesday… Ash Wednesday …Hahahaha (just HAVE to post this picture!)
there I was with ashes smeared into a cross on my forehead, holding two loaves of Italian bread under my arm, waiting my turn in the “20 items or less” line. So there are two cashiers, right? And the proper protocol for Market Basket “20 items or less” line Quequeing is to form one line and wait for the next available cashier to call you… there was a man in a scooter cart in front of me and two women behind me. One of the women takes it upon herself to CUT in front of me and go to the farthest cashier (the cashier was not done with her customer yet, BTW). I am, of course in my sarcastic indignant way, THINKING (not saying) “Really?! Am I invisible again today?!” (for I swear at times I am invisible… must be my super power…yeah… or no it must be that people just don’t see me … ha) …yeah I know, maybe she just didn’t know the proper protocol, maybe she was in a hurry… maybe it was an emergency, she just HAD to buy that cake right then or the whole world would explode… really it must have been that important…!!! Hm. …so me trying to be the good Catholic, not being the old obnoxious me freaking out (the sarcastic one in my head)… I say nothing…I give her the bennie of the doubt… but then, GET THIS, the other woman behind me starts to CUT in front of me too (WHA…?!) I started to laugh (oh my joyful crazy life!) and the woman turns around, realized she was cutting in front of me and said, “Sorry.” I laughed and said, “That’s okay, I realize now that I need to practice forgiveness this Lenten season.” hahahaha ( … yeah and patience.. but wait… don’t EVER pray for patience… for God will teach you patience… by giving you something or someone really difficult to deal with… sure I need to work on patience, especially during Lent… but I don’t PRAY for it anymore…I’m not that crazy… but back to forgiveness….). I see (recognize!) by that instance that God is telling me to work on forgiving others….
And it seems that we (God and I) have already been working on this. I notice things now, little jabs and things said that are slightly mean/cruel/rude… things that I would normally be upset about… but now I stop myself, recognize it and say to myself, “I forgive them.” I make a conscious effort to not let it get me or eat at me. I forgive because I know we are all imperfect and we all need forgiveness. …and by forgiving others for what they say it also makes me think about what I say to others that they may have to forgive me for. I now watch what I say…yeah well… I am still working on that one…
So there… for Lent I am fasting on Fridays and forgiving … friends (I had to add the “friends” …some good alliteration there!)
Oh and I had thought about going grocery shopping today (I normally go on Fridays) but decided that grocery shopping and fasting would be pretty darned dangerous….