I remember when I was ten, and it rained for eight straight days. I hated wearing my yellow rain coat and hat, and found galoshes to kill the skip of childhood. The only thing I enjoyed during those eight days was building stuff with my Lincoln Logs, and sailing little boats from the Rice Krispies box down a raging gutter to the sewer.
On the whole the rain got old pretty quick, and the mud was everywhere. My mother was not a neatness nut, but she did keep a sparkling clean linoleum kitchen floor. More than once those eight sloppy wet days, she screamed at me for tracking in mud, and forgetting to remove my stupid frumpy galoshes.
On day eight, Richie Sandvig thought it would be cool to make mud pies, and then have a “war” like we did with snowballs. It sounded electric to the rest of us. Richie has such a great mind for great fun, and also getting us into great trouble.
The battle lines were drawn. It would be the Yout and Charles Street boys versus Goold and Carter – our entire block. Before the first mud pie went airborne, we were already mud from head to toe. We had a blast, and were pleased to discover that mud pies did not hurt nearly as much as a spit hardened snowball.
Then it dawned on us. We had to go home for dinner. Not one of us could even see a speck of our clothing. My mother looked at me, and to my surprise, after making me strip down to my muddy undies, broke out in laughter. She went and got my Dad’s new Polaroid, and took several shots.
I took four baths that day. The first three were just sitting in water as brown as Racine’s Root River. Eventually I got clean, but Mom was no longer laughing when she had to haul my filthy clothes down the basement steps. She complained for weeks on how I had basically ruined half of her towels.
Sometimes, think of Lent this way. Consider it a time spent knowing you are going to get covered in dirt and grime, and probably even stink to high heaven. Have a good laugh at your own expense. Remember you probably needed new towels anyway.
O, Lord of Lent, remind us that to die laughing at our own foolishness. To die laughing is not to die, but to resurrect our desire to be fully alive once again, even if we just might need a half dozen baptismal baths. Amen.
Reverend William R. Grimbol has spent the past 30+ years helping people create and develop strong spiritual connections with loved ones and God. He is also a published author, with over a dozen books to his credit.