Are you ready, everybody? Are you pumped? I’m pumped! Let’s kick-off this Lent right!
I get the sense, as I look around, that some of you aren’t really in the Ash Wednesday spirit. You’re looking at repentance like it’s a bad thing, some kind of burden. Now, you’re all good people. You’re probably not doing anything that bad. Surely, none of you have been on the wrong side of a Dateline investigation? Have you? See? I knew it.
Still, I can see in your eyes that there are things you aren’t necessarily proud of that you’re still not completely into the idea of giving up. That’s okay! Not to worry! I, your imperfect-but-practicing Catholic friend, am here to help. Repentance is like a muscle. We can start slow, with a light weight and few reps, and build up those holiness muscles for next year. The following are a few easy suggestions of things you can give up for Lent this year that will please God* and make your life and/or our world a better place.
(*I’ve been praying on this and can assure you that the Holy Spirit has co-signed these suggestions.)
#1 Stop getting pissy when someone RSVPs “no” to an invitation. Declining is one of the two options. If someone always declines your invitation stop inviting them places, stop throwing lame parties, or focus on entertaining people who aren’t cooler than you are.
#2 Stop pressuring people to do mud runs with you. In the course of daily life, you don’t run into thatmany people who run marathons. You also don’t run into that many people who enjoy having mud caked all over their bodies (especially in certain areas which should, for health reasons, be kept fresh). You’ve got to assume that the overlap of these two small groups of people is pretty infinitesimal. If you’re in that overlap area, cool. You just can’t be surprised when the rest of us look at your hobby as..well…revolting. Forcing us to make up excuses as to why we’re busy on whatever Saturday morning you’ve decided to exercise in filth is unkind. If you want friends to do mud runs with you, go make friends at a mud run. Everybody wins.
#3 Stop reacting to Kanye West in any way. If you like his music, buy his music. If you like his clothing line, buy his clothes. When he rushes the stage at an awards show to announce that the losers-who-shouldn’t-be-in-charge-anyway are giving an award he considers irrelevant to the wrong person, just smile, blink, and move on. Ditto if he decides to sing while lying flat on his back. No need to tweet or status update a reaction. Freeze a smile on your face, blink, and then keep it moving. I’ve seen Dr. Phil use this exact same method on “troubled toddlers.”
#4 Stop calling anything on TV a “guilty pleasure.” Unless you had to disable a parental control to see it, it’s probably nothing to feel guilty about. Sure, Real Housewives and Kardashians promote mindless materialism and petty scorekeeping – but there are hundreds of people employed by those shows who aren’t on camera. Their families have to eat, too. Not everyone can work on Masterpiece Theatre and Oprah’sSuper Soul Sunday. If only. Give yourself a break and save the term “guilty pleasure” for things like adultery and heroin.
#5 Stop group texting. Nobody likes it. Your smart phone will let you copy and paste the same message as many times as you need to.
#6 Stop dating Lance Armstrong. This doesn’t apply to most people, but if you’re reading this and it applies to you, just please, for the good of your soul and your criminal record, let this be the thing you give up for Lent.
#7 Stop saying “all intensive purposes.” That is not a thing. What is an “intensive purpose?” When you use this nonsense phrase, it leads other souls to believe it has meaning. They go astray, using it too, and then nothing has meaning anymore. No. Let the heresy end here. “All intents and purposes” until Easter Sunday and beyond.
There! Those aren’t so hard. If you do at least one, the Lord – as well as all your brothers and sisters on this earthly plain – will surely appreciate the sacrifice. God bless!