Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Cynic-free Lent

As one of the few non-Catholic in a Convent School, Ash Wednesday was always a miserable time for me. The good Catholic children used to be taken out to get their Ash marks on their forehead while I was left to sit alone in the classroom contemplating my sins for what seemed like hours. And then the other kids, those special ashy ones, would walk around in this annoyingly saintly fashion for the rest of the day feeling sorry for me, but not as much as I did for myself.. but LOOK, I'm in danger of getting cynical here, and that's exactly what I'm trying to give up this Lent. Actually, it's true. I'm horrified at how easily my nastly little mind nips to an all-too-easy bitchy aside. For instance, the women queuing up for the Tunbridge Wells Cath Kidson sale yesterday... No, no, no. As the nuns would say, it isn't funny, Sarah, and it certainly isn't kind. So this is officially the Lent I'm going to leave my non-cynical side behind - at least for the next forty days - and try to be kind. I've just joined The Karma Army (, started by the comedian Danny Wallace, and which is currently fund-raising to build a school in Kenya through the charity, International Care and Relief. How fabulous would that be? Plus, although I might draw the line at hugging strangers and also because, partly for reasons above, I'm not a Church goer, I've signed up to find out more about the Live Life Love Lent campaign, which is going to give me fifty good things to do this Lent.

And one of the things I'm going to do every day is to write down two things that make me feel happy in a well-meaning, non-cynical, good spirited way:

a. Since watching Dog Borstal, I've learnt that I can shout 'hip,hip' at my dog when she's walking and she starts to bounce. Literally. Her tail goes up and she sort of jumps on all four legs. Obviously I have to be careful where I do this because she's a very small and unnoticeable dog and people passing just see this mad woman telling them to gee up, and then laughing loudly.

b. The Park Keeper in my local park is just like Percy the Park keeper, even to the extent that he collects pieces of wood to build homes for wild animals, and is currently passionately observing an albino badger locally. Not only that, my teenage daughter will still let me read my very battered copy of this book to her in times of stress (both mine and hers!).

And my writing prompt for today is: A random act of kindness


Patry Francis said...

It's the second time in as many days that I've come upon the phrase "random acts of kindness." Looks like I better go commit one.

Now I'm off to check out your links...

Becky C. said...

I do not consider myself a religious person--but I go to daily Mass--figure that one out. But, a couple of times I have tried to take Lent seriously--and it was meaningful.

That really sucks they wouldn't ash you on Wed.--there is no cannon prohibiton against that--it is not like communion (as if that should matter).


Sarah Salway said...

Let me know how you get on, Patry. I'm still managing - although my Lent prompt yesterday was give someone an apple. COuldn't quite cope with giving a stranger an apple so gave one to my kids. Not sure that counts!
Becky - am still trying to figure out your daily mass visits - but yes, I think anything that lets us stop and think what we're doing has to be good.