Friday, March 11, 2011
Happy Awaiting Spring and Renewal Season!
This is a flash blog. For Friday.
Not that kind of flash.
I was going to give up guilt for Lent. Then I remembered that the whole purpose of Lent is to feel guilty.
When I was a kid, we went to church on Ash Wednesday and the pastor put ashes on our foreheads. It was really awkward having the pastor touch you, and having to pretend like it was normal to be walking around with the accessory of death and carnage on your face. You spent years memorizing John 3:16 and constructing lambs out of cotton and now they give you this? I was always glad to be a Protestant who went to church in the evening like a respectable religious holiday observer. Those Catholics had to walk around with the smudge on their foreheads all day. They had to wear it, like, at the mall.
Last year I resolved to make a King Cake and I never did.
It's ok, because I'm not Cajun.
My parents did their best to raise me right. The Lutheran church is funny because, other than the Soup And Salad Supper, it doesn't have many ceremonies or rituals; and those it does are all a little hush-hush, preformed in silence and nobody look at the pastor in the eye. This is due to our fear of becoming like those gaudy, histrionic Catholics. Unless we are talking about the traditions of "don't flash your underwear to the congregation during the children's sermon", or "don't mock the pastor when he gives the benediction", those traditions are actually pretty fun. I never heard of anyone 'giving anything up' for Lent until I was in high school, and then all the girls were really doing it to lose weight. We're not fooling anybody.
My family viewed most displays of religious enthusiasm with mild disdain. We are Lutherans, we do not raise our hands, we do not even clap for the children. In case you didn't know, it is the 8th cardinal sin. Not that we believe in cardinal sins. It is ok to laugh when you think the guy giving the reading has just proclaimed "Jackass!" in church, but nobody better even think about mentioning the influence of that namby-pamby Holy Spirit. So the rituals were few, and those that we did engage in, we never discussed. (Above all things ,we must not be mistaken for Pentecostals). As a result, I am repelled at a gut level from talk of typical religious expression (giving up for Lent, fasting, praying) and attracted to less typical, slightly pagan forms of ritual (labyrinth walking, meditation, lighting candles, baking cakes).
I don't know why I'm telling you all this except maybe to avoid that awkward moment when you ask me what I'm giving up for Lent and I raise my glass and say, "Not drinking wine on Tuesdays".
I am Vesuvius and this was supposed to be shorter.
I hope you will join me next week when I am challenging myself to write a week's worth of true flash blogs (not that kind. Not yet) of 350 words or less. I realize this is an extremely boring challenge to everyone except me. You probably just fell asleep and banged your forehead onto your keyboard and sent that sexy email to your mother-in-law on accident. Sorry about that. You perv.