A good friend gives up all drink during Lent. That might sound rather trivial and maybe even banal. (Yawn, right?) But if you knew this friend…well, I never believed it possible, but he does it. So last year at a weak moment — probably half-way through a fine bottle of Brunello — he challenged me: “If you think it is so silly, you do it!” So I did. More or less.
It is a tricky venture to navigate and not for the weak-willed, unless you’re a teetotaler or otherwise predisposed to the mundane. It is a challenge on many levels, on par with completing a marathon or two. Really. And while I’m not saying it is a superhuman feat worthy of superhero status, I kind of am…
Now, for my part, I am more sensible about the whole affair. I believe if you lay out some principled guidelines in advance, you can take some of the burden away while living up to the tenor of the promise. You don’t want to be left high and dry (pun intended) when the right reason comes along. So I start with a list of dispensations and indulgences…you know, just in case…and by my word, I live by them!
Below is my current list. (At the moment it is on two sheets of paper that don’t photograph well and my scanner is down. I will post the final and “official” document when I transcribe and approve it.)
I share what I have now hoping you too will take a moment and plan ahead. Even if you’re not a Catholic you can do this! God, knows — quite literally, I’m sure — that I am not a very good Catholic, but I will take this one.
Come wander with me!
So here is my list so far:
“Below is a list of this year’s dispensations and self-granted indulgences for the 2014 Lenten season. I will once again (attempt) to abstain from social drinking with these well-deserved, thoughtful, and appropriate exceptions to assist and guide me:
- Wenn says yes
- In the event that I win a lottery prize exceeding $249,999.
- On the occasion that I become engaged
- On the occasion that I get married
- On the occasion that I get divorced
- Michele Bachmann comes out of the closet
- In a situation where I am with an ex-girlfriend whose name is no less than 3 letters long and no more than 8.
- A leprechaun says I should
- In a situation where I am with a new girlfriend whose name is no less than 4 letters long and no more than 6.
- Meteorite Storms and/or Asteroid Collisions
- Someone needs a friend
- Minneapolis get 6 inches of snow or more on March 15
- I find my leather book bag
- A Republican says something thoughtful and intelligent
- The Pope says it’s cool
- I wake up Uruguay
- First Quarter GDP tops 4%
- Space Invasion
- I reach up toward the heavens and touch the face of God
- I write the perfect three-word poem
- The temperature reaches or exceeds 65 degrees on April 10.
- I find my way”