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Reflections – My Lenten soul sacrifice?

Lent is upon us, and I still haven’t given anything up yet. I know I should have denied myself something right out of the starting blocks on Ash Wednesday. But it was Valentine’s Day, and I didn’t want to deflect Cupid’s arrow.

Lent, of course, is that mirthful time of year when we sacrifice something for the sake of our soul. It’s a tough transaction because we’ve never even seen our soul, even in the mirror, or been able to touch it, even in the shower.

Indeed, theologians and biologists disagree on whether the soul is hiding behind the lower intestine or lurking behind the liver. Autopsies are no help. Because once the body is deader than the hula hoop craze, the soul instantly whooshes either north or south. Only God knows what happens if the soul detours east or west. Perhaps we’ll leave that up to the Buddhists and the Hindus.

Mike Zielinski
Mike Zielinski

I simply can’t decide on just want to give up for Lent. Candy would seem to be an obvious choice, but I don’t have enough willpower for that. Alcohol is another good choice, but ditto on the willpower issue.

So I seriously have toyed with giving up being polite with people during Lent. Yes, you read me correctly. When people annoy me, I could tell them exactly how I feel in no uncertain terms. Blister their ears right off. No more biting my tongue. No more internalizing my angst.

Wondering where the Lenten sacrifice is in this approach? Well, I would say the loss of a friendship or my family or my front teeth would make me quite the sacrificial lamb. But since I’m more clown than tyrant, I’ve opted not to give up politeness for Lent.

Now I’m rationalizing there is nothing in the Ten Commandments forcing you to give up anything for Lent. Then again, eternity is a long time to suffer fiery regret if I missed something in the fine print.

But what to forsake?  Big Macs? Chocolate shakes? Running daily marathons? Bacon and salami sandwiches on (gasp) white bread? Holding my breath until Joe Biden stops whispering and Donald Trump stops sparring with the courts? Stop driving my Lamborghini backwards up to the Pagoda?

Or perhaps I could give up gargling anthrax or sneezing on the hors d’oeuvres at dinner parties or wrestling dyspeptic alligators or making plans to get Jesse James’ gang back together for one last run at banks.

Granted, I could always torture myself and fast forward through the programming and just watch the commercials on the network television shows I DVR. But that seems so cruel and inhumane and could drive me bat crazy because so many commercials feature people with weird diseases taking weirder prescriptions with catastrophic side effects and happily singing and dancing about it.

I could opt to punish myself with something less painful, like flossing with barbed wire or taking turpentine baths or soaking my head in Freon. Then again, those are too easy. So now I’m strongly considering giving up cauliflower AND broccoli — talk about a doubleheader of denial — for Lent.

Trust me, that double dose of digestive tract deprivation would test the very mettle of any soul. Right now I’m praying for the courage to undertake such a double-barreled sacrifice. If you bump into me on the street and I appear less healthy, you’ll know I mustered the guts to pull the trigger on my Lenten lunacy.


Mike Zielinski, a resident of Berks County, is a columnist, novelist, playwright and screenwriter.


Source: Berkshire mont

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