Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday


Content, adjective: in a state of peaceful happiness; satisfied with a certain level of achievement, good fortune, etc., and not wishing for more; verb: satisfy (someone); noun: a state of satisfaction.

Evolve, verb: develop gradually, especially from a simple to a more complex form; (with reference to an organism or biological feature) develop over successive generations, especially as a result of natural selection.

Sober, adjective: not affected by alcohol; not drunk; serious, sensible, and solemn; free from alcoholism; not habitually drinking alcohol; muted in color; verb: make or become sober after drinking alcohol; make or become more serious, sensible, and solemn.

ASH Wednesday

“Lent is a period of fasting, moderation, and self-denial traditionally observed by Catholics and some Protestant denominations. It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays). During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. It’s not uncommon for people to give up smoking during Lent, or to swear off watching television or eating candy or telling lies. It’s six weeks of self-discipline.

Lent began as a way for Catholics to remind themselves of the value of repentance. The austerity of the Lenten season was seen as similar to how people in the Old Testament fasted and repented in sackcloth and ashes (
Esther 4:1-3;Jeremiah 6:26;Daniel 9:3).”

Read more about Lent here

Since I am a Southern Baptist, it is not a usual practice for Baptist to give up anything during Lent. If you question why check out this link

I have worked for an Episcopal boss, my mom is Catholic, and my boyfriend is Lutheran, so I am familiar with Lent. Sometimes I participate in Lent to share the other practitioners woe’s.  I also take Lent seriously, or else why do it? In the past, I’ve given up chewing gum- for which I have an addiction to and should go to meetings (if there is such a thing). I’ve given up eating french fries, drinking alcohol, and drinking sodas(these were individually given up over the years– not all at once).  The soda fast included me not eating apiece of Dr. Pepper cake. I was chastised for not eating it because “eating” was not “drinking,” but JESUS would know!!! 

Regardless of how I sang in the choir; I am infatuated with monks.  I have a serious crush on the late Thomas Merton.  In no means am I making light of anyone’s religious affiliations.  Nor, do I want to persuade your religious beliefs.  With that being said, I’ll share with you my conversation with my friends over Lent that almost got me punched in the face!

This past Sunday the 15th,  my girlfriends Arlene, Lucy Kay, and I pondered what each of us would give up for Lent.  Lucy Kay and I always love to wind up Arlene.

Arlene said, “I like everything.  My doctor already made me give up alcohol. I’ve been sober now almost a year.”

“For Lent you give up something that you cherish so you will suffer, Lent is not about being content with what you give up,” I said.

“I could give up candy,” said Arlene. 

“Does candy include nuts?  What about those tooth breaking nut clusters you get from Sam’s?” I ask. 

“Candy is one thing.  Nuts are another.  I don’t have to give up two things!” Arlene protested. She shot me a look like she was going to come at me. 

“Arlene, you should give up cheese puffs,” said Lucy Kay.  “Every book I get from you after you have read it has orange finger prints all through it.”

“I do not eat cheese puffs. I eat Cheetos.  They are crunchy.”   

“Yeah, give up Cheetos,” I begin to laugh.  I know Arlene eats a bag of Cheetos a day. 

Arlene was getting hot, “What the hell are you going to give up?” she asked snarkily.

“Maybe you should give up cussing!” Lucy Kay was fueling the fire.

“What the hell???” I repeat with a smirk, “Is cussing something you really enjoy Arlene?” 

Now, I’ve done it.  Arlene was ready to fight!  I braced myself ready to take the punch, because I knew it was coming. 

Lucy Kay was laughing and she saw it coming too, but before Arlene could throw the punch, she said, “Boy this is good cake!” 

I’m not stupid. I hurried to the kitchen to get me a piece so Arlene could cool off. I escaped getting punched. When I return I say, “I need to eat cake, I might give it up for Lent,” Arlene made the cake.  She’s made cakes as long as I’ve known her. Only a compliment could change Arlene’s attitude.  I choked down the cake, and said it was yummy! Arlene’s cakes are dry but we don’t tell her.  Her cakes have not evolved over the years. They are still hard to digest.   If I give up eating cake, I will have an excuse not to eat her cakes for a few weeks. 

FYI-  I’m giving up an hour of sleep for Lent.  I’m going to get up early and walk the dog.  The dog will hate it because he is not a morning person.  I know I will have to explain Lent to him, and I already know what he will say, “What the hell??  You chose this for Lent, not me!!”  My Boston Terrier cusses like a sailor, but that’s only because he’s tiny and uses his diva attitude to get what he wants. Perhaps he cusses because he spends a lot of time with Arlene. 

Happy Lent Ya’ll!
-        DP

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

One Bag of M&M's

Devious, adjective: showing a skillful use of underhanded tactics to achieve goals; (of a route or journey) longer and less direct than the most straightforward way.

Frown, verb [no object] furrow one's brow in an expression of disapproval, displeasure, or concentration; (frown on/upon) disapprove of; noun: a facial expression or look characterized by a furrowing of one's brows.

Venomous, adjective: (of animals, especially snakes, or their parts) secreting venom; capable of injecting venom by means of a bite or sting; (of a person or their behavior) full of malice or spite.

 “Question if you still love what you once loved in the way you thought you loved it.” -DanielleLaPorte  

One Bag of M&M's

Brown, blue, red, yellow, green, and orange M&M’s spread across my desk.  I sort the colors into small piles.  The M&M’s are plain, no peanuts.  I begin to eat them by color.  They all taste the same. There is no reason for sorting them.  I’m trying to look busy while I listen to my co-worker’s conversation in the cubbie adjacent to mine. They could see me if they look over the cubicle, but I can’t see them. 

I’m eating the pile of red M&M’s. I don’t trust one of the girls.   I talk to her from time to time, but mostly about something that happened to her.  I knew anything I shared with her would be gossip by tomorrow.  I know it is devious to eavesdrop , but they are talking about a girl we used to work with that got caught having an affair.  When she got busted, she immediately went into her husband’s phone and found out he too had something on the side. She began verbally threating the girl to stay away from her husband and their family. Things escalated from there and a restraining order was filed by the wife against the husband’s girlfriend.   This made me frown, because wasn't the wife having an affair too, it was a little much,  until I heard the name of the husband, then I felt a flush of panic. 

I’m eating the pile of green M&M’s.  I picked up my phone and flipped through my text messages and read his messages, “I love you.” “I miss you.”  “Can we meet for coffee?” Then more that I would rather not mention. Are these girls venomous enough to be saying this where I can hear??? Do they connect me and him?  No one has called me.  No wife has called me.  No restraining order has been sent to me.  I didn’t know he was married. 

I’m eating the pile of yellow M&M’s.  We met in a crowded event, by accident.  I had to hug up close to him to let someone pass and to make it a little less awkward I introduced myself, and he was nice enough to make a joke of it, by saying he saw me checking him out and there was no way he was going to let me off easy.  I told him I was expected with my friends and he said his loss and I walked away.  Later in the night the crowd died down and he bought me a drink and we talked for a while and he got my number.  This was about six months ago. 

I’m eating the pile of orange M&M’s.  I did like him, but I knew I didn’t love him.  He would always ask me if he could kiss me, at first this was endearing, but kissing never became relaxed.  This little oddity of his, I accepted.  Looking back and knowing now he had other girlfriends and a wife, well, perhaps that explained his actions.  I caught myself seeing other oddities about his behavior and I know this is where a relationship begins to deteriorate for me.  The flaws; I begin to see nothing but flaws. 

I’m eating the pile of blue M&M’s.  I’m conflicted.  Should I tell my co-workers about my affair with this married man and confess before they continue to harass me, but I hear their voices fade as they walk away.  If the conversation was intentional, they did their damage.  I say nothing and I delete all the messages and forget the whole affair.  If I ever thought I might love him, now I know I would never love him. 

I’m eating the pile of brown M&M’s.  Appropriate, because nothing exciting happens when you eat brown M&M’s.