Now before you jump to conclusions, no, I am not giving up on my personal heritage's high holy day. I love St Patrick's Day. This year, it been a little on the low key side. Well, actually, I have't done anything in particular to observe the day other than think about it a lot and wear a spot of green.
So I think what I have given up this St Patrick's Day during this particular Lenten exercise, it expectations. Used to be I expected holidays like St Patrick's to have certain things done in certain ways. Corned beef and cabbage, Irish music, some soda bread or Irish Cream. Wearing green from head to toe and talking with an Irish lilt. I love all that, but it is not happening this year for some reason. Maybe I am getting old. Maybe my prioirities have changed. I am not sure.
What I have learned today is that by giving up expectations, it opens the door to new experiences. It makes things less stressful. Hard to be disappointed when you have no expectations.
Okay, I think that sounds a little more cynical than I intended. I have had many, many wonderful St Pat's celebrations. I was actually invited to what I am sure will be a very jolly celebration tonight. But I am choosing to do something else for several reasons: it is in support of a good friend, it is something I truly enjoy and it is what I want to do. Not to say I don't want to go to the jolly celebration. I do. But as oft happens in life, conflicts arise. Choices must be made. And expectations must be at least adjusted.
So, it is a good day to give up expectations. I expect, however, that you will agree and support me in my non-expectant state.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day, by the way.
Giving up cussing might seem more like a resolution (more fitting to NewYear's than Lent) but really, I have to admit, I rather enjoy letting out a good &*#&*#@ now and then, and a real blue streak like &%$#@! *&^%*# and ^%&$$ is delightfully satisfying not to say wonderfully like taking the lid off a pressure cooker that is about to explode. Sometimes you just can't express what you mean without a good four-letter word now and then. I confess: cussing is a guilty pleasure.
So recognizing that cussing is a guilty pleasure makes it well-suited to a lenten sacrifice. A resolution is a vow to improve oneself. Giving up something during Lent is intended to cause one to be reflective and meditative and feel some pain or discomfort in order to bring oneself closer to God. Giving up cussing would do that. I am sure God gets tired of hearing &^%**$ and *##$%$@ during public addresses or on TV shows. Cussing has become epidemic in modern American society, That aside, it still feels good at times and so giving it up during Lent is good spiritual practice. It is also good for the spirit itself.
Well, an educated and sophisticated person can I suppose. The meaning behind the cuss can be let out in more appropriate ways with some lovely ten-dollar words one acquires through a good study of the English language. One needs only to turn to Shakespeare to find some very effective and devastating turns of phrases that would turn any grandmother's ear red. But I digress.
I shall give up cussing here on in, at least during Lent. It will be a sacrifice for sure. Like, as I was blogging about yesterday with the giving up of impatience. While driving, a good cuss, ^&$$$#%, alleviates the pressure of waiting needlessly at the stoplight when then is no traffic or the railroad crossing when there is no train. It feels good. So during this season of inner examination I shall refrain from the minor and the major cuss as much as possible and doing penance of some kind when I slip. It will be maybe one of the most interesting and enlightening exercises during Lent I could do.
And who know? Maybe I won't need the swear words after Lent. My sacrifice would then become a legitimate resolution for the rest of the year and certainly cut down of my soap budget thereafter.
Day Nine: Give up cussing. Amen. Now there's a word I could use more often!