Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Ready for the Ashes!

By Patty Maher,

"At one time I smoked, but in 1959 I couldn't think of anything else to give up for Lent so I stopped-and I haven't had a cigarette since." -- Ethel Merman

I am not sure if Ethel Merman was a Christian and I was delighted to read that quote when I Googled for "Quotes on Lent" this evening. In fact, it was the only quote on the season. There were some interesting quotes on the action. Here are a few:

"Every possession and every happiness is but lent by chance for an uncertain time, and may therefore be demanded back the next hour."
--Arthur Schopenhauer

"I have lost my seven best friends, which is to say God has had mercy on me seven times without realizing it. He lent a friendship, took it from me, sent
me another." -- Jean Cocteau

"Jazz has borrowed from other genres of music and also has lent itself to other genres of music." -- Herbie Hancock

So, now you know my secret for finding wonderful quotes -- the trusty Google search. Maybe you thought I was extremely wise and constantly reading wonderful works of literature and taking notes to impart to my friends who read what's hanging on The Refrigerator Door. But probably, you didn't think that. Probably, you had me figured out. I'm pretty transparent.

And my transparency is something that can lead to social exhaustion. People like me this way and I like them. There's so much talking going on all the time. That's why I just love Lent so much. The quiet... It can be so lovely to focus inward and upward instead of back and forth between myself and other people.

Before I move on from the quote theme of this post, I want to tell you that one of the things I enjoyed about the smoking quote is that I really don't think Ethel Merman was a Christian. I mean, I am pretty sure she was Jewish. Maybe someone can enlighten me on that subject. And if she wasn't a Christian and she had a habit of participating in Lent anyway, I have to say, I think that's pretty cool.

I've said in the past that I think Purgatory is one of the best things Catholics have going. I'd have to say that as far as liturgical seasons go, I think Lent is the most spiritually useful. In fact, if I could only take one liturgical season with me on a Desert Island, it would probably be Lent. That's because it is so grounding and so clarifying. I had a fiction-writing teacher who was always trying to save our stories from sounding as though they belonged on the Hallmark Channel. Now, there is nothing wrong with the Hallmark stories. Some of my favorite childhood memories with my mom are sitting and watching those Hallmark movies. But I wouldn't want to be on a desert Island with the Hallmark Channel. That would be frightening!

I'm a girl who needs reality checks on a frequent basis. Lent is an internal reality check. I don't think of the giving up of worldly items as punishment at all. I think it as opporunity to strip away materials that weight down my experience of the ethereal.

In that vein, I have decided to significantly reduce my blogging and internet activity during this season. As some of you know I started a spinoff blog called The Other Refrigerator Door in the Open Salon community. I will be making art-related posts there on Sunday's during Lent. They have a tradition called Good News Sunday and I really enjoyed it the one Sunday I participated.

I'll be wrapping up the Dora Story for this blog by Sunday. It's almost ready but not quite. And from time-to-time as I feel inspired during my meditations, I may post something inspirational at this site.

I am so happy to have this blog -- and the other blog, too. It is wonderful to have audience again. I am not sure exactly what to do about it, though. I could definately spend fourty hours a week writing and reporting. But this is truly free. I am not getting any pay. I don't think most bloggers do earn money at it. So, I am giving some thought to how much time I should spend on the blogs.

During this upcoming Lenten Season I am super excited about painting and grateful for the encouraging audience I have found here in cyberspace.

If you would like to check out the sailing paintings I posted at The Other Refrigerator Door, visit:


Thanks again for your support of my writing and art.

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