Oh, No Meat Fridays, how I have missed thee. Another year, another forgotten Lenten promise. Frankly, the exact date of my betrayal, my omissive gluttony, that first bite out of a ham sandwich followed by several days worth of Catholic guilt is something of a sport in the Murphey clan. Sean has even taken out a pool on when I will stray (having already claimed week 3 and 5 for himself).
Unlike New Year’s Resolution, Lenten appeals carry greater weight for me. I mean if you happen to screw up, you may be visited with plague and lightning, fire and brimstone, Rosie O’Donnell and another season of the Bachelor — Heaven preserve us. Father Time, the patron saint of New Year’ Resolutions is far less coercive. He acts as more of a symbol anyway, one who has been screwin’ with me for years, ever since I learned about movie ratings and the penalties for underage drinking.
This year I promised to devote a hour each day to exercise. The rest of the family have adopted sacrifices of varying magnitude and difficulty. Two years ago, Sean gave up lying; this year, Katie discovering her body did not digest lactate, gave up all dairy products; last year, I gave up selling illegal drugs and clubbing baby seals. Yeah, it was high time to remove that embarrassing stain from my life’s tapestry.
Some of the other kids were far more reasonable: Ryan promised to visit the confessional every Saturday, my cousin Kathleen sacrificed her Facebook time during the week, my aunt and uncle once refused to drink throughout the entire Lenten season. That was a trying month. You don’t really know people until they begin abstaining alcohol or coffee.
Sacrifice is necessary at times, I think; with the exception of dietary restrictions or venial sins, which you couldn’t or shouldn’t do anyway (I’m looking at you Katie), it helps build character, makes one stronger less dependent on material possessions that hinder or degrade our minds and bodies in this modern and overly commercialized world which . . .
Oh dammit, I forgot to work out today.
Murph, you son of a %$#&@. Day four into Lent and I’m two hours away from lightning bolts, eternal damnation and Sean’s smug face — at this point, it’s a bit of a toss-up which is worse. Of course, I always have two more hours. Plenty of time to jump onto the treadmill . . .
If I didn’t have this glass of wine, that might just seem practical. The grapes seem to hiss: “Stay. Sit. Play the Xbox. Read something, but first let’s top off that glass.” Oh well, there’s always next year.