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Here We Go Again…

     It’s the second month of the year already and wouldn’t you know? Just when you’ve decided it’s okay that you: a) didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions, or b) couldn’t keep them after the first three days, all of a sudden people are making plans for Easter and you know what that means. Lent’s coming up.

     So here we are again. Scarcely got past New Year’s and those danged resolutions to be good, get skinny, quit stalling and start doing, and along comes the sacrificial season of Lent. Which even if you don’t observe, so many people around you are passing up the muffins, “Oh, sorry, I gave up muffins for Lent,” and offering you chocolates, “Please, please take these or I’ll die! I gave them up for Lent,” that you might as well join in and give up something yourself or you won’t have anything to talk about for the next forty days.

     Actually, it’s more than forty days, but Sundays don’t count. From Ash Wednesday to that Saturday and then six weeks of six days each, makes for the oft-quoted forty days of Lent.

     Not everyone knows about the Sundays off. They’re for you to recuperate, stuff yourself, laze around, or do whatever it is you gave up doing the other six days of the week. Sundays are supposed to be happy days.

     Getting back to the forty days, there’s a move these days to be more positive with the Lenten resolutions. To do something good instead of giving stuff up.
Instead of sacrificing chocolate or that evening glass of wine or the Starbucks caramel espresso, we’re supposed to share them with someone in need of cheering up. Or be more free with our compliments. Or listen – really listen - to whomever’s talking to us. The gist of the thing is to move from self-denial and misery to love of others and doing good deeds.

     Well, I like that. I haven’t done too well with giving things up. Fortunately I knew about the Sunday exemption since early childhood, so I always could at least hang in until right after church on Sundays before I made a mad dash for the chocolate bar I’d hidden behind the Campbell’s soup cans in the cupboard.

     For the first two weeks I could. After that, I had a hard time making it just to Tuesdays before I hit the hiding spots. So I think this positive thing is good and I’m going to come up with a really good Lenten resolution that doesn’t involve giving something up. One that gets me doing good things for people.

     It’s easy to think of things to give up – watching sports, eating three times a day, driving too fast. But doing something positive, that’s hard to think of. ’Specially if you’re going to have to do it six days a week for six and a half weeks. Maybe I could compliment everyone I see. They’d prob’ly wonder what I want.

     Darn. I’m getting nowhere with this. I have no idea how to talk about doing something positive without sounding all holy and preachy and do-gooder-ish, so I’m not saying what I need to say, which is…

     That I really should stop and listen to people. That I should pray every day for peace in the world and in our hearts. That I should stop judging people. That I should do more than my share of the work – without complaining. That I should say only positive things about people and think only positive thoughts and shoo away those critical, negative bugs that bounce into my brain and race off to my vocal chords and come alive to do damage.

     That’s what I should do.

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