For Catholics, this is a solemn day. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Forty days of deep thought, and often deep sacrifice.
This time of year, a lot of Catholics give up a lot of stuff. Some swear off desserts. Some swear off swearing off.
When I was a kid, my Mom had a different tack. Although she wanted my brother and sisters to sacrifice, she saw Lent as a chance for us to do something, not give up something.
I remember one year, she had us write a relative, a different relative, every day of Lent. That one killed me. As big as my Italian-Irish family was, even I ran out of relatives. So I repeated notes.
Another year, she had us volunteer to do anonymous good deeds. That was tough too because if I was going to do something nice for my brother, I wanted full credit.
I didn't know then, but I do know now what my Mom was up to.
She wanted us to think beyond ourselves ... beyond making sacrifices to make ourselves better ... to making sacrifices to make others feel better.
She got it right then. Leave it to her knucklehead son to finally, finally see the light now. We have a habit in our hurried world of getting caught up in ourselves.
Leave it to my Mom to understand, maybe we should all just, get over ourselves.
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