Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sidetrack Sally, Suffering and Sacrificing

Since I was raised a good little Catholic girl, I always gave something up for Lent. Usually candy, soda, chips...I was always a healthy eater--insert eye-roll and confession that I lived a whole year on cheese puffs and Tang. Although I moved away from the Catholic church, I love Jesus and have always identified with His praying, fasting, and meditating and wanted to offer something in return.

Now, to quote my friend Jen: Let me back up a minute. Whether it was the church, my family, or simply my own perception, I came to this conclusion as a child: Suffering is good, and the more you suffer the better of a person you are. Since Jesus suffered tremendously, my wee little girl mind believed that by suffering, I could earn favor with Jesus. 

So my takeaways from a childhood of Catholicism: Suffering and guilt. When I was about Lily's age (6), I used to kneel for hours in church on November 1, All Soul's Day, praying for souls in purgatory and unbaptized babies in Limbo. Always an intuitive empath--though I didn't know that until my 30's when an honest-to-goodness definition for my particular neurosis emerged bringing validation and relief--this weighed on me tremendously. In my little kid mind, unless you left the confessional, did penance, and then dropped dead, you were probably going to go to purgatory for a couple hundred years until some good little girl prayed you out.

And what about people who had no family? What about the orphans? I hoped that God would make exceptions and use my excess prayers for them. When I think about this as an adult, as a mother, it makes me sad. I want to give my little girl self a hug and reassure her. My darling son is an empath too. He would agonize over souls in purgatory.

Back to Lent, see why my kids call me "Sidetrack Sally?" So, I share my feelings and interpretations about Lent with my own children not as a way to make them feel guilty or as if they need to suffer, but as a way of acknowledging Jesus' suffering on our behalf. No pressure. Chloe is taking 18 credit hours and running 5 miles a day. I didn't mention this to her: She's all ready suffering enough. Peyton gave up computer games. Lily went back and forth and ultimately chose soda, but last night she climbed like a spider monkey onto the counter to finish Brad's Coke, so we might need to revisit that.

I chose alcohol. I'm not an alcoholic. And for those of you who know me, I don't drink excessively anymore. Yes, I know I had a drink in my hand in every Florida picture. Have you been to Key Largo without your kids? Cut me some slack. The point is: I really enjoy an adult beverage. I love a good glass of wine or a craft beer. One of our friends brews his own beer. It's AMAZING. I'm looking forward to enjoying one in 30-some days. So, I thought this would be a good sacrifice as well as a liver cleanse.

If you're still here, you probably need a beer. This post was rough and disjointed. Maybe I am an alcoholic. Maybe this is what withdrawal looks like. Go ahead. Have a drink. Call my girlfriend; we made a pact never to let the other drink alone. She'll have a beer with you. She promised.

3 comments:

  1. " In my little kid mind, unless you left the confessional, did penance, and then dropped dead, you were probably going to go to purgatory for a couple hundred years until some good little girl prayed you out. "

    Love it.

    --Meredith

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    1. Thank you so much, Meredith! And thank you for the laugh this morning--I needed it!!

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  2. I keep seeing this in my head now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MoA63WunEJ0

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