Archive for March 9th, 2011

Tasting Ashes

It’s a gray dawn in Seychelles, appropriate for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

As a child, I dreaded this day, as it usually meant an early Mass on an empty stomach in a very crowded church that more than once resulted in passing out cold as I waited in the long queue to get ashed. Of course, it also meant the giving up of something I’d deemed of great value for all of 40 days.

This year, Mass is out, as I no longer deal with those issues and canceled my subscription many years ago, so don’t need those ashes.

Oh, no. I have my own.

The taste of ash is strong in my mouth today, as I’ve been spending too much time lately learning just how thoroughly I was raked over the coals, but this has dictated my Lenten sacrifice.

Yep. I’m giving up men for Lent.

From now until Easter I will not allow a thought of romance, a flash of attraction, a longing for touch, a regret over lost love to linger for more than the instant it will takes to wipe it from my head. I will waste no time missing any man from my past nor holding hopes of future connections. I will satisfy myself by and with myself, and I will take comfort only from those whose link to maleness in my regard is either nonexistent or inconsequential.

I will expect no reward of bounty when Easter arrives, but rather hope that by then my cravings have been tamped down to the point that only the most vigorous … and deserving … blast will bring on even the slightest explosion. In other words, I hope to gain something approaching temperance.

“Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are foul.”
~ Frances E. Willard

I’m not saying I’ll be avoiding men, as that’s simply not a possibility in life outside a convent, and I have no intention of substituting one habit for another, and I will continue to interact with, and appreciate members of the gender … that would be those who sport a member, but I’ll be ignoring that fact … with deep respect as fellow humans. Maleness in general, however gets a complete pass.

So, with ashes on my tongue I begin a Lenten season of dedication to self combined with acts of penance and charity that will include the giving of my time to others whose ashes taste much like mine.

Yes, on a gray Ash Wednesday morning, I throw off the shackles of a much-enjoyed compulsion and look forward to 40 days of prayer and peace.

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