The Noon Whistle

After a jillion heavy clouds and too much rain, the sun prevails. In spite of weather predictions, it bathes our sodden earth with warmth and light. A perfect Holy Saturday. When we were kids, we gave up candy for Lent. The forty day season of imposed penance were officially over on Holy Saturday at noon. On that day, we stood on our front lawn with our paper sacks filled to the brim with candy bars, gum drops, and packages of life savers we had saved throughout Lent. We would finally be allowed to consume them at the sound of our town’s noon whistle.

To this day I associate Lent with giving up and Holy Saturday with the noon whistle. However, I’ve long since stopped denying myself during Lent. Not that it doesn’t occur to me to do so, but I still associate giving up with the convent and Catholicism. Maybe I’ll never get over all those years of denial:  keeping my eyes cast down (Guarding the Eyes); not being allowed to talk (Silence); having little or no time to run, play, or daydream (Observing Decorum); being restricted to wearing bleak black and white clothing ( Habits); eating plain foods; and most if all—being denied close friendships or intimacy (Forbidden Particular Friendships).

Now I choose to allow rather than deny myself and to free myself of punitive obligations-conducive to grown and spiritual though they may be. I continue being less likely to keep resolutions. However, the Nun part in lives on and sometimes continues puttingme into a state of denial.  It is easier for me to become caught up in doing rather than being, and I admit a prevailing uneasy relationship with feelings. As a nun, I learned to ignore loneliness, anger, depression, sexual arousal, and fear. Instead, I smiled, laughed, and submitted.

Today I give into feelings. During today’s temporary period of stolen sunshine, I imagine hordes of children let loose on grassy knolls in back yards and parks. Outfitted in pinks, baby blues, yellows, and lavenders, they retrieve multi-colored eggs from beneath bushes, behind trees, and the backsides of logs.

I sink into a soft yellowy happiness, as I stretch out my arms and give into the sun.

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