If you're religious, maybe don't read this one. Also, if there's a Hell, I am probably on the express train.
My calendar says Ash Wednesday, which made me realize two things.
One, I have never had any idea what Ash Wednesday is about. And two, this is the first day of Lent.
Lent is something I find fascinating. It's something so many people who aren't actually good-in-their-soul kinds of people do. And then they talk a lot about what they've given up.
At least, this is how it seems to me.
Having been raised a heathen, I think I first learned about Lent in college. Which was also the first time I saw people my age going to church voluntarily, instead of bitterly being dragged by their parents to Mass like we were for those few years.
Not having been raised with a religion - or really, having been raised with four years of hurry-up-cram-it-in Catholicism, which didn't stick because I was too old, I just don't think I'll ever actually get organized religion. Or Christianity, anyway.
And then in the Peace Corps, all the Catholic priests we worked with in our communities were such hypocrites. They were all preaching goodness and sharing - not to mention telling women that they weren't complete human beings if they weren't mothers - and they were mostly kind of crappy people.
Even the young, dynamic one I really, really liked as a person spouted the official "have more kids, birth control is wrong." And eventually it came out that he had an entire secret family in another village. They all did. And the archdiocese knew about them, and always looked the other way.
All this to say, I've not been raised with or developed a whole lot of respect for the only church I know anything about.
If you're not religious, there are a whole number of things you can give up for Lent.
And so when someone who doesn't really know me asks me if I've given up anything for Lent - and bizarrely, if rarely, this does happen - I tend to say wicked things like, "Jesus," or "Mass," or "tithing."
But this time around I'm all, "Giving up for Lent? My whole fucking life is Lent."