Fishy Fishy

It may seem strange to some, but I don’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent. My last bit of Catholic-raised guilt finds a home here, and it’s difficult to explain since I’ve been rather vocal about my issues with the Catholic church – particularly under the homophobic regime of the don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out Pope. For me, though, it’s less about the religion and more about the ritual. It’s an act of sacrifice (I love me some meat, on a daily basis), but not in any real way (I also love me some fish – or lobster – or pizza). It’s more about just being mindful of something, and making a motion in honor of something I once believed.

In a way, it’s my own show of love for God – no matter how trivial or trifling. Not unlike giving something up for Lent, it’s an act to mark this time of year in the Catholic calendar. It doesn’t mean I subscribe to the dogma or the hate in any way. At its heart, it’s the one ritualistic remnant of faith I’ve retained – a largely inconsequential covenant that is more of a reminder of the story of Jesus – a story rife with love and forgiveness – two things we could all use – and two things that have always proven difficult for me to master. Whether or not one wants to believe in the big JC, there are valuable lessons to be learned from his story, and God knows I need them more than most.

For a few weeks at the end of Winter, when my faith and sanity are usually tested the most, I give up meat on Fridays. It just makes me more aware of things – the time of year, the state of my life, the condition of my spirit – and how can something like that be wrong? Andy rolls his eyes before diving into his ham sandwich, and I’m intelligent enough to understand there may be more than a little bit of superstition involved in my actions, but sometimes the heart over-rules the head, and a lifetime of tradition is tough to break.

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