Annie Lane: Fasting prayer for Lent

Published 6:30 am Saturday, March 13, 2021

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Dear Annie: Recently, I came across this poem. I’ve seen it attributed to Pope Francis — not sure whether he actually said it. In any case, I thought you might share it with your readers. You don’t have to be Catholic to get something out of them.

“Do you want to fast this Lent?

“Fast from hurting words and say kind words.

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“Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.

“Fast from anger and be filled with patience.

“Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.

“Fast from worries and have trust in God.

“Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.

“Fast from pressures and be prayerful.

“Fast from bitterness and fill your heart with joy.

“Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.

“Fast from grudges and be reconciled.

“Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.”

— Gran

Dear Gran: That wisdom is certainly universal — and more needed than ever. Thanks for writing.

• • •

Dear Annie: You were so right to encourage “RSVPP” to attend the son’s wedding, despite the estrangement. My son invited me to his wedding, and I went, despite hardly being involved in his life.

I was slighted during the event, in keeping with what our relationship had turned into, but I was strong. I have that milestone, a universal and timeless tradition in my memory. My only daughter actually told me I would not be coming to her wedding, and I was absent. Today, my son is dead, and I have no regrets because I have that moment in my memory of his short life. The awkward moments have faded. Perhaps they should read Karl Pillemer’s “Fault Lines, Fractured Families and How to Mend Them,” before they go. They are not alone and maybe their presence will be a turn in the relationship. For whatever reason, the son has made the first move. The couple will likely be having their grandchildren. They don’t want to keep the door closed on the possibility “RSVPP” will share in that joy. Life, as I learned, is unpredictable.

— A Mother Always

Dear AMA: I am so sorry for the loss of your son. Your insights are valuable, and I appreciate the book recommendation.

• • •

Dear Annie: I fell in love and lost track of myself. He broke my heart. I don’t know how to get a hold of myself again. He seems to just see me as a joke and just likes toying with me. He still always calls and texts. But also shames me for responding. What kind of way is that to act? What should I do?

— Dismissed

Dear Dismissed: This man sounds like a psychic vampire, and he won’t be satisfied until he sucks the life out of you. Bar him from your house, and block his number. At first, you might find it hard not to talk with him, but I promise that it will get easier with time — and you will look back on it as one of the best decisions of your life.

In the meantime, I encourage you to reach out to a therapist. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) anytime; their trained specialists are available 24/7/365 and they don’t just help survivors of physical abuse but also people who are experiencing emotional abuse, which it sounds like could be the case for you. Hang in there.

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