Long-time readers will know that I’m Catholic. Not a good one, mind you. Even in non-pandemic years, I attended mass sporadically. But I did have my children go through PRE classes and receive their first sacraments, a major accomplishment given my husband, Doo, is not Catholic. And full disclosure, our younger son isn’t Catholic, either, having decided on his confirmation retreat that the church just wasn’t for him (what an awkward celebration party that was! Relatives scrambled to alter cards to read, “Congratulations on becoming atheist!” Bless their hearts, they showered him with cash, anyway).
Anyhoo, despite a 25 percent failure rate in spreading the creed and not always remembering the words to said creed, every spring I tackle Lent with gusto. I give something up and pledge to do something. This year, I’m nixing candy and calling each of my four sisters every weekend. The candy bit hasn’t been too bad, though a particular bag of Jolly Ranchers haunts my dreams nightly. The sister chats, however, have become a real challenge.
I know that sounds terrible, but I’m a natural phone conversationalist in the same way that I’m a model Catholic, which of course is to say that I’m not. I don’t like the pressure of having to respond in real-time, and lengthy pauses make me uncomfortable. I also never know quite how to graciously end a call and inevitably revert to some silly untruth like, “The cat’s on fire. Gotta go!” I love my sisters, but actually talking to them? That’s hard!
Hence, the whole point of Lent, right? Being a good Catholic, even a seasonal one, isn’t easy.