So it’s Lent time again, and while I do not participate, I do like the idea of participating and then celebrating my accomplishment afterward. I just haven’t ever gotten it together to do it.
I have a friend who is a priest. His name is Father Rooney, and I met him at my best friend’s wedding when I was in college at the University of Nebraska. I’d just finished reading The Thorn Birds, and Father Rooney was even better looking than Richard Chamberlain, so I was determined to have his baby after consummating our love in some Nebraska hayloft. I would raise the daughter, and he would be tortured with his love for me and his child, but I would be okay in the end.
Anyway, Father Rooney and I have had a tumultuous forty-year friendship. He once told me that God put me on this earth to drive him crazy. I felt that was close enough to the sweet, savage passion I wanted, and was satisfied.
Ten years ago, Father Rooney had a bike accident involving a garbage truck, and he has never been the same since then. He was retired by the church because his ‘filter’ was gone and he had started saying things as he saw them rather than sticking to church doctrine. Frankly, I liked him a lot better that way.
Nebraska is short on priests, and one year they had him do a mass for Ash Wednesday. Apparently he got up and said that for forty years he’d diligently given up popcorn for Lent, and he still got hit by a garbage truck and what was the point of it all anyway? Why would God want us to give up something? After all, he loves us.
I think Father Rooney’s right. Supposedly the best diets are ones in which you add a healthy food like broccoli, and keep adding healthy foods until the bad foods that used to be the staple of your diet fade into the background. In the end, you are eating like a rabbit, the way you were supposed to do all along.
So I am going to participate in Lent this year. I am going to add something to my life this upcoming Lent and see how it feels. My Catholic friend is thinking of adding red wine because it’s such a good antioxidant. I told her I thought that was really a good one. God would approve. Let’s remember that Jesus felt red wine was a way to connect with him as well. Yep. It feels right. Thanks Father Rooney, for yet another life lesson.