I talk to myself a lot. Like you, right? These days more than ever. Why? Could be my imagination, but I think my friends have stopped talking to me.

I arrived at work this morning and walked into the mail room (where the coffee pot sits). Keeping with decades of tradition, my pre nine o’clock class friends had gathered.

clock at eight fiftyHearing me step inside, the room went silent. It was as if they’d been electrocuted. Eyebrows lifted, they stared. I struggled to reach my mailbox and wondered had I shrunk another inch.

I left wearing a flat grin and reminded myself how much easier it is to smile after eating a snickers bar. I echoed down the hall to my office wishing I had worn shoes with rubber soles. Safe at my desk I wondered what had been said about me over communal java back there. Time for class. I silenced my phone and noticed a text alert. It was Deb.There was my answer.

I ate lunch with Deb, another teacher, my bff last Friday. During the mostly one-sided discourse I confessed, “I’m off coffee, I’m off sweets, and I’m off alcohol for Lent.” She drew back with each syllable. “Didn’t you say last year you weren’t going to do that again?”

“Yea, yea, but this is really good for me and I’m doing great this time, totally calm.” Her soup sipping quickened. She seemed in a rush. Must have been awe.

cup of chicken broth LEnt

I inhaled the last of my meatless cup of broth and brought her up to date on my Lenten plans: clean out the garage and paint all interior wood doors with free time in the evenings I’m no longer sipping Pinot Grigio and reading books. I disclosed my rekindled love of quilting and dedication to completing every page in my Zen coloring book. Then I explained my revised view on global warming, the state of the presidential race and …

One last slurp, she pushed her bowl away and interrupted, “Patty, you’re going nuts, you’ll make people crazy.” She didn’t blink. “Why do you have to go balls out?” Seven seconds later I exhaled a belly laugh. Took my mind a while to get the joke. “Ha, that’s a good one! Hey lunch was fun. When can we do this again?”

She stared at my face and searched for something lost. “How about July?” She’s a great friend, really funny.

Deb told the others about my Lent. Now they were avoiding me. I never said it was a secret. But this was the kind of sacrifice shared only with family and my bff. Now I felt exposed and a bit odd.

What to do? Talk to God. Always around, He totally gets me. Knows the driver I cussed out this morning for cutting me off deserved every articulated word and translated hand gesture. Understands why I stuff the hours after five o’clock with activity away from the kitchen, the basement mini frig, and the wine rack. And already forgave me for drooling on my husband’s latest issue of Craft Brewing as I watched the Cadbury egg commercial.

cadabury eggs Lent

Dear God, you and I understand about surrender right? I know you are watching me.  Just wanted to say thanks.