I know there will be plenty of pious/devotional/reflective entries on today being Ash Wednesday, and I've done any number of them myself, so I'll skip that. Instead, I'd like to address a few words to G-d:
Hope you got the letter and I pray you can make it...sorry, joke. (10 pts to those who get the reference) No, seriously, just a few things.
1. I know it's a day of fasting/abstinence - I'm cool with that, but I will still be having my full Wednesday intake of caffeine. We all have to draw our line in the sand somewhere.
2. I'm NOT giving up shamelessly indulgent hugs and hellos from folks like John Leather. THAT just made my day - and all we need is love, right? And this whole season is about learning to love more. We talk about giving things up, but this month is really about stripping back to learn to love people more, right?
3. St Paul as the first reading. SERIOUSLY? Doesn't he get enough attention the rest of the year? I'm sorry, but every year has to be Joel, ALL THE WAY. Much better call to repentance. Srsly. The Old Testament every time.
4. Speaking of St Paul, he's a bit of a whingey martyr. "Oh, I've done this ALL FOR YOU, no matter how much I'VE SUFFERED." Yo, St. Paul - it's the world's smallest violin. Surely You didn't mean for him to have the lion's share of the NT?
5. Pious people. WTF? No, really. I'm not talking about the devout, like John and Mary L.; Nahed; Terry; Asta; Maggie; any of those I know and those I don't who walk their spiritual/religious talk, showing me up for the complete hypocritical twat I really am. No, I'm talking about those who make a show of virtue: posing with claret whilst being overheard having a 'how much I know about theology' pissing contest; peddling sensationalist stories about the 'secular world' and denouncing 'secular values' whilst being utterly enslaved to them ; overly awed by status; obsessed by rules, rubrics and lace and form; those who kowtow to those with religious status whilst casting doubt on their reputation the moment their back is turned. Those who use their 'orthodoxy' as a way of being an emotional bully and clubbing people over the head with their beliefs, insisting they live by them. That lot. You know, the ones who do all that to avoid a real relationship with You.
Ok, I know they have issues and they need my compassion and understanding. But here's where I need Your help, Lord - I want to effing smash their faces into the nearest psychological mirror. That's right. I want to take Mr 'Aren't I so perfectly Catholic' and shove his face in the fact that not only is he an emotional bully, but also that he's really unhappy, though he'd claim otherwise. I want to take Miss 'Fake Piety' and expose her as the scheming bitch she is. I want show so many of them just how shallow, spiteful and narrow-minded they are. I know, I know. Jesus died for them too.
But this is what makes it horrible - I want to take the gift of psychological insight You gave me and use it to take them apart and hurt them as much as I've seen them hurt others - their spouses, their children, those around them. And that, to me, would be the ultimate sin.
Help me, Lord. Help me find compassion for them this Lent. Help me let this go, because I can't do it.
Please. Help me to heal, not destroy.
6. What were You thinking when you made platypuses? Did you just look away for a minute and did Gabriel play a practical joke?
7. I know I'm feeling really stuck right now - but thank You. Thank you for where I am right now, and for all that I have that I forget about, and what being here brings me. Thank you for the challenges, for those who knock my corners off, for everything I learn from. Help me have faith in Your plan and kick me in the ass to act when appropriate.
8. This had to be separate. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR MY FRIENDS. OH, GOD, THANK YOU. There just aren't words for the amazing people in my life. Help me be what You need me to be in their lives, and in the lives of everyone I touch - whether it's just a brush past or a lifetime commitment. (No straitjackets, though, please!)
9. Stay with me? Or rather, take down the barriers that make me forget You're always there. You know that unloved thing I blogged about? I feel it with You too - I mean, I know I love you as well as I can, but I don't often feel it coming back from You. I know I don't have to apologise for it, but...I feel like I should, you know. I know You're there, but a lot of the time, it's hard to feel and trust. Help me with that? Help me just BE with you?
So, basically, can we just work on us this Lent?
10. Small, yappy dogs. SO WRONG. Were You on...never mind. Better not ask that one.
Gah, Ash Wednesday is almost over - better post. More anon, Lord - thanks for listening.
Who loves ya, baby? That would be me.
PS - Promise not to kill any pious people during Lent. Hope that works for You. Mwah.