Lent, Part Two

Because it is still Friday in Cancun. Toma, with love:

Today is the second Friday of Lent.  And the only reason i remembered is because I knew I needed to write the second part of this post.  

This morning, I scarfed down a small plateful of papas con tosino (hashbrowns with bacon and onions) with no shame.     And I will probably have chicken fajitas for lunch and a cheeseburger for dinner.  But I will be skipping the chocolate cake and opting for coffee instead. My Lent sacrifices are internet TV and dessert.

I didn’t give them up for the sake of Catholic dogma. I gave up two of my favorite addictions because Lent offers a great excuse for me to attempt to free my mind and body from an attachment to the world.  I need to return to that ephemeral hope and strength that lies deep inside myself.  The sacrifice is just a symbol, a metaphor for the discipline I am already (re)enacting on my own life. And I’m only human. So when i feel tempted, I pray to Ogun.  And when I feel lonely, I imagine Oshun at my shoulder and I ask her to return in my dreams.

I approach Lent with the same sense of syncretism and mystery that I approach my own existence.  It is a magical thing, it seems to me, to be African-American and Puerto Rican, both at the same time, neither eclipsing the other, both contributing essential elements to my sense of being.  It is a magical thing to be a Black Girl from the City and still alive and surviving and loving life.  We get a bad rap.  But we are still here.  

And it is an incredible thing to be said black girl determined to remain hopeful, visionary, dreaming and open to the radical potential of love.

Lent is just a ritual, an occasion to revisit my own heart.  And a reminder that I can abstain, that I do not need material things and that they do not form any essential part of me.  That this part, this soul, is my own.  And God’s.  And the Orishas.  And the ancestors.

To all those who celebrate, whether the form or the function, I wish you a happy fast season.   May you return to the world with clarity, peace, and a stronger relationship to your God.  To those who don’t, be patient and tolerant (and helpful!) to those that do. There may be a story there.


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