Missing mass last Monday

I totally forgot about it. After writing for my column and finishing up another article for Louie, I proceeded to plan a day out with Keona, her nanny, and my best friend Sherwil. Nothing special; just play with Keona and a movie after bringing her home.

I was just finishing up my seafood pasta at The French Baker in Southmall when I remembered I hadn't gone to mass yet. I checked my watch. It was already 6:30pm and the 6:15pm mass finishes anytime between 6:45pm to 7pm. It was too late for me to catch up.

I was bummed. Barely a week into my Lenten pledge, and I had already broken it.

But instead of beating myself up over it, like I normally do, I decided to forgive myself and renew my commitment to go to mass everyday for the duration of Lent. I guess the lessons to be learned here are, yes, commitment, discipline, and, most importantly, humility.

I'd been proud about keeping my Lenten pledges, but now I have a black mark on the record. Before, that would have been enough reason for me to say, "Oh, to hell with it!" and abandon everything, but with maturity, you learn to see a black mark for what it is: a black mark. It's not a sentence. It's a mistake you make, being human, and it's a mistake you only have to correct if you're serious about getting better.

Of course, it's a reminder that I do need to be more disciplined in the things I commit to do. Maybe if I had stuck to a more structured schedule, or maybe if I had listened to that nagging voice in my head to go to mass in the morning instead, so I wouldn't have to plan my day around the 6pm mass, having attended it already first thing in the morning, I wouldn't have forgotten about it. And I should have written it on the white board I have next to my bedroom door.

Later in the week, I talked to my other best friend Emily about it. She has her own Lenten pledges too, and one of them is to not drink Coke. And she also forgot about it. She said that one of the lessons here is humility--something I had already realized, as I apologized to God for breaking my promise. But she pointed out something else I hadn't thought about: that faltering in this Lenten promise makes you more understanding and accepting of others who falter too.

Lessons learned.