Busted Halo

In repentance for her usual neglect of churchgoing, sometime-Catholic Amanda Farah gives up swearing for Lent and explores the season’s meaning & traditions. (And follow her penalty box total.)

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April 26th, 2011

Let the Four-Letter Words Fly


cursingbegin-flashHappy Easter one and all. I’m back to work with the better half of a chocolate egg on my desk and my newly restored vocabulary. A few days later and I find I’m still thinking twice before I say certain words, but more often than not I’m letting myself slip and speak all those words I’d given up during the last six weeks.

I’ll take my small achievements where I can get them: For the first time I can remember, I made it through Lent without eating meat on a Friday. And it may have taken me four weeks to finally tame my language, but my average was still less than one obscenity every two days. I know for many people that would still qualify as pretty filthy, but is quite possibly a record for me.

While giving up swearing has been a yearly practice for me for the last several years, this year has been a bit different for me. The truth of the matter is, I think my weekly reflections about what Lent means to me ended up benefiting me a lot more than coming up with creative ways to express my anger at traffic or surprise when I drop something in the kitchen. Which is probably the most valuable lesson I’ve taken from this project, and what I will try to remember next year.

As long as I have a tendency to the four-letter words fly, I’ll have a vice to give up for Lent. But next year, as I’m stumbling over my sentences, I’ll try to make a little more time to think about why it’s important to give things up in the first place. Because ultimately, not swearing for forty days doesn’t bring me that much closer to God, but considering why I’m making that gesture is of more significance.  And yes, I know, keeping this in mind the rest of the year wouldn’t hurt either.

So, thank you for reading. I’m happy to have had this opportunity to reexamine Lent and my opinions of the season, and think about it a little less as a period of sacrifice and a little more as a time of reflection. No, that doesn’t erase my Penalty Box Tally, but I’m willing to go with the slightly cheesy perspective to remind myself that I’ve gained something. So as I bid farewell for now, I have to ask: How did you do with your Lenten sacrifices and what did you learn?

My final Penalty Box Tally? $9.00
(Amanda gave up swearing for Lent and donated $0.50 every time she slipped. Check out all of her posts here.)

The Author : Amanda Farah
Amanda Farah is a freelance writer and photographer living in Brooklyn. Amanda spends most of her time writing about music and pop culture for magazines and websites in the US and UK.
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  • Cindy G; Spirit of Health

    Kudos, Amanda, for your Lenten endeavor! Remember, In the beginning was the Word. Your efforts are a great reminder to us all about the power of the words we choose to use, since the words we speak are the resonance and the vibration of our thoughts. Regardless of how many letters they are, it’s good to be aware of our choice of words.

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