Crocuses and Lent seem synonymous for the coming of Spring. Harbingers of Easter and light.
Recently, my friend Maria asked me what I was doing for Lenten reading. I was flummoxed! I had never thought of Lenten reading. My ideas of Lenten sacrifice run more along the lines of “giving up Peeps” – those yummy little yellow chickies. The thought of reading some pious tome had minimal appeal. When I was in high school, during our annual retreat, we were all adjured to read appropriately edifying books. I would imagine that the girls who actually did this could be counted on my testicles. One day during the retreat, a nun crept up behind me as I was getting my things out of my locker to go home, and was irate because I had “David Copperfield” and not “The Life of the Little Flower,” or something similar. I felt that once school was out for the day, so was the retreat, but she didn’t feel this way at all. My father and my friend Tom read philosophy and theology books all the time, and actually enjoyed them, but such books are just not my preferred cup of tea. An essay maybe, but a whole book? Perhaps the life of a saint! But saints for more than a month? No way. I feel that Lenten sacrifices should have some benefit, in addition to just “giving up” something. “Doing something for Lent” makes more sense that "giving something up." My friend Judy gave up her beloved New York Times for Lent, and then gave the money saved to the Catholic Relief Organization. That is both giving up, and doing. So what to do? One year I gave up talking uncharitably about certain people. Talking uncharitably about everyone would not have been realistic, and would never happen, since that particular activity is so deeply ingrained, but I could manage to eliminate two victims of my ill-nature. But back to Lenten reading. I decided to only read novels in German. This would have some positive effect, in that hopefully, it would improve my mind. I decided to give up Spider Solitaire, one of my passionate addictions. Rebecca, always enthusiastic about my sacrifices, kindly pointed out that there was no point in giving up Spider if I didn’t give up Freecell as well. In the spirit of “doing something” as well as giving something up, I have been reading nurse articles during the times I would be playing Spider – i.e., while my tea is coming to a boil, or my English muffin is toasting. I always mean to read these, but so often there is something just a trifle more interesting beckoning me. I have one on the kitchen table at all times, and read a page or so at a go. I’m finding that this is a good plan. I may adopt it for a lifestyle.
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