Ash Wednesday is already here on the 6th. What to give up for Lent. "It's gotta hurt or it doesn't count.", That's what I'd hear as a kid. I never did give up television or my favorite TV shows. It was always candy but I never had much around me anyway, it was easy. Sister Mary Edwards introduced the idea of sacrifices for Lent instead of giving up anything, offer up a sacrifice. We were only eight year olds. Sacrifices were, as I understood it as eight, not doing what you'd normally do in a situation but withstanding some degree of discomfort and offering it up.

My first sacrifice came after recess. A few of us had been having a water drinking contest at the water fountains outside. It was what you did when there was just nothing left to do. All the four squares were taken, tether ball poles in use, older kids playing basketball or doing cheers on the courts, the little kids got the swings and the monkey bars were just too crammed. There were two water fountains and you'd line up and drink all the water you could. A kid would time it and see who could go the longest. They'd also make sure you were drinking and not just faking it. Proof came in watching bellies get more distended. We'd all laugh at the sound of water in the belly. There was a lot of laughing, jumping up and down and spittakes. Between the laughing and full bellies, there came the fun?

This was not the thing to do if you had a huge lunch. A kid got sick once and the chain reaction sent several kids home for the afternoon. I was younger and just remember hearing about it,"Ewwwwwww everyone is throwing up at the water fountains, it's gross come see!", I knew better. Last thing I ever wanted was to throw up. It took me awhile to even use the outdoor water fountains. The summer put enough distance. I remember being pretty proud of myself because this wasn't the sort of game for delicate constititions and I was feeling fearless.

We all piled into the classroom and sat down to resume learning. Sister was pretty cool in that she wouldn't turn the lights on in the class for a good five minutes letting things settle down. I remember sitting down actually was very uncomfortable. I asked my friend if that was the same for her and it was. My friend raised her hand to be excused. Another school mate in the drinking game did too, I raised my hand along with my best friend Heather but Sister was starting to think this was some sort of plan for a small party in the girls room and sternly said we had to wait. She then announced that we should use or recess time for personal errands as well as play.

UGH! It felt bad. I looked at my best friend and we both cracked up at the faces the other was making. Giggling made it worse. I then said, "Sacrifice it". THis made her laugh even more and she ran out of the room. I was left red faced and holding in laughs and more. The damn schoolmates were not returning and Sister Mary Edwards had gone after my friend. I finally had to get up and when I arrived at the bathroom it was a mess. One girl had thrown up, and the three other stalls were in use and Sister Mary Edwards was castagating the girl while the receptionist nurse consoled her. She was telling everyone to hurry up. I felt sick, so sick from holding in several cupfulls of water and the mess that wasn't getting picked up fast enough.

At Sacred Heart they'd cover messes with sawdust looking powdery stuff then pick it up. That smell of sawdust to this day still makes me gag. I seriously kept thinking sacrifice. Finally I had my turn in the stall. I had managed to hold it on in, didn't get ill, pondered 40 Days Jesus spent in the desert and even prayed. Jesus had too little water, I had to much. I felt quite worthy and ready for Easter because I too had suffered in agonizing ways. That was that. Sacrifice, I did it. The rest of Lent that year was left feeling quite smug.

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