Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Joys of Left-Hand Brushing

In church today, during the children's sermon, the pastor spoke about willpower. This being Lent, the topic was timely. Now, my pastor is an intense man. He is burly and strong and, when he does something, he does it all the way. This can either be bad or good. He exercises strenuously, but also eats in the same manner. He is something of a 'foodie' and will regale any listener with lessons ranging from the subtle differences in apple varieties, to the best restaurants for Israeli hummus or Polish dumplings. He makes impromptu visits to my house, armed with dog biscuits for my three crazy canines. He will sit at my dining room table and hold court for an hour, talking about movies, food, or the health benefits of walking in those rocker-type shoes that are becoming popular.
The pastor has put on weight in the past few years, despite his active lifestyle. It's the foodie thing, I think. He simply loves food. The idea AND the partaking.
So. Back to willpower. For Lent, this year, the pastor has decided to fast every day of the week except Sundays. He reports that he drinks milk and juice, but eats nothing from Monday through Saturday. Now Lent is forty days long, not including the Sundays within it. Many of us are used to 'giving up' something, be it chocolate, or cursing, or the mall. If we have given up something dear to us, then we need WILLPOWER to stay on track.
During this children's sermon, he asked the kids, "what IS will power?" No one spoke. "Willpower is when you set your mind to do something and you DO IT," he thundered. He threw out some examples for them, like giving up junk food, or bodybuilding. The kids nodded silently. "Willpower is like any muscle," he continued. If you exercise it, it becomes stronger day by day. He suggested to them that they all practice brushing their teeth with their non-dominant hand for the remainder of Lent. "This will train your willpower," he said. "Try it."
After sending them off to Sunday School, I pondered his message, with the knowledge of his own resolution in mind.
I don't usually do the Lenten 'give up' thing anymore. But I do like the idea of strengthening my willpower muscle. Tonight, Sunday night, we all gathered at the church for the weekly Lenten Potluck supper and study. The pastor ate his once-weekly supper heartily. He never made mention of his fasting resolution. And tomorrow he will move on about his day, with strength, conviction and intensity. And he will not stop for lunch.
So be it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A True Story

My old friend Vicki was something. She was, and is an amazing photographer (professionally even) and a great singer. Vicki's got game. As the oldest of six, growing up Catholic in New Jersey, she obviously knew a lot about babies and where they come from.
When Vicki was in second grade, she and her class were practicing at school to receive their First Holy Communion. Holy Communion in the Roman Catholic Church is one of the seven sacraments and considered the ACTUAL body of Christ. Okay, that debate aside. So, the nun who was running the practice, complete with her little clicker (you know like the ones that came in the box game of Jeopardy that you were supposed to use when you knew the answer in lieu of a buzzer) clicking when the kids should sit, stand and kneel.
The nun was also drilling the kids. "Who can tell me what the Holy Eucharist is?" she quizzed. Vicki's hand shot up. "Yes, Victoria," said the nun, who always called the children by their full Christian names. "You know," replied Vicki with a small secret smile, pointing to her stomach. "In here."
"What do you mean?" asked the nun, slightly disturbed. Vicki was annoyed at the nun's denseness. "You KNOW," she pressed on. "In here. Where the babies grow. The Holy Uterus."

Monday, March 1, 2010

Caterpillar lip

I like facial hair on men. Beards, goatees, long sideburns. Even the much-maligned soul patch. You know. Apolo Anton Ohno has one of those under his lower lip.
I do not like moustaches. On anyone. A caterpillar under the nose. An extension of nostril hair. A reminder of unsavory characters from history and literature. Hitler. Stalin. Dan Dastardly. Vincent Price.
Beards are biblical. Sideburns were named after that famous Union General Burnside. Goatees remind us of cute goats. Moustaches have no redeeming value whatsoever. They are prickly and seem like something awful and alive is coming out of your nose. It also looks as if you are trying to lie and hide it.
I say, abolish moustaches! To fully beard or not to beard. The wimpy, half-hearted moustache will never display the measure of a man. Only the contents of his upper lip follicles.