Friday, February 04, 2005

On observing the lenten season

I'm no practicing Catholic, but for those who are raised in New Orleans, there's almost no other choice. Being a transplant to the city, I'm surrounded by others who exercise ritual almost as though it were a response of the sympathetic nervous system. I'm not criticizing what others accept as an article of their faith. In some respects, I admire the adherence to ritual. When combined with true thoughtful reflection, it can provide a path to a more enriched, enlightened existence. But reflection need not be a product of any particular faith.

Notwithstanding my own faith as a doubting agnostic, some practices are unavoidable to the outside observer--like the strict observance of the lenten season after a harvest of debauchery. On the suggestion of a friend, I decided I would join the observance this year by giving up my increasing tendency to curse like a m-fing sailor every time some a-hole with a cell phone fails to use a turn signal, blocks the fast lane, stalls at a stop sign, or cuts me off.

Of course, succumbing to one's anger is destructive spiritually, closing off one's awareness of serendipitous moments.

Forthwith, I shall be taking some cues from my dad, who is known to cuss with such exclamations as "oh crumb", or "dagnabit", or "holy cow".

I'm looking for other suggestions...