Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Ashes to Ashes

I am about a week behind in my blogging. I ask for your patience as I play catch up.
Thanks...la Mala

It’s been years since I took part in the ritual of Ash Wednesday. In elementary and high school my girlfriends and I would always wear our bangs over our foreheads to hide the black marks of our alleged repentance. The bigger the mark on our heads or the darker it was, like when the priest seemed to be pressing the burnt remains of last year’s Palm Sunday into your forehead, the worse we must have been. I, like most other Catholic children, gave up small but important things like chocolate or cartoons after school.
As I got older though, I wondered if maybe I should give up bigger things. Was Jesus really impressed or convinced of how sorry I was for hitting my sister or for putting my hand in my panties because it felt so damn good just because I gave up a Kit Kat bar or two? So I gave up giving things up for Lent.

I gave up Lent for Lent when I was in High School, about the same time I gave up pledging allegiance to the flag. I didn’t give up on divinity or even prayer. I just gave up on the idea that a higher power wanted me to feel bad and wanted me to give up things to prove that I agreed that I was bad and undeserving. I believe my actions have consequences, being single and pregnant at age 19 pretty much sold me. I believe in heaven and hell. I’m not quite sure where heaven is but I’m pretty sure hell is right here on Earth.

On Ash Wednesday my daughter stared at people’s foreheads, including the foreheads of my mother and sister. She asked me why they had dirt on them. I sat down and explained the meaning, the symbolism, and the Catholic theology behind Lent. Despite my mother thinking otherwise, Catholic school wasn’t a complete waste. La MapucheRican asked if she could get ashes on her head. I explained to her how it was a symbol of faith in the Catholic religion and that it would be inappropriate for her to get ashes just because it fascinated her.

As I raise my daughter, she is exposed to all religious faiths. I teach her that there is a higher power with many names and many paths. What path she chooses to take if any at all will be up to her.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your decision is a good one. My mother was born Catholic, changed to Rosicrucean, then sent me to Jahovah Witness school. Then she converted to Baptist then Presbyterian and the whole thing just left me super confused.
Heidi

2/15/2005 04:49:00 PM  

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