Just wanted to point you all to some Lenten reflections my brother, a current senior at Gonzaga University in Spokane, wrote in his school paper, the Gonzaga Witness:
I remember the absolute worst lent of my life back when I was about 7 years old. Back then I owned 22 stuffed animals, all of which were named, had individual personalities, occupations, voices, friends and enemies. I guess I was what you could call a "special" child (and to be perfectly honest I was 18, not 8). Thinking about it now, it just occurred to me that maybe I was homeschooled not because of the way I would be influenced by un-Jesus loving kids, but because my parents were just embarrassed of me. In which case mom and dad had to deal with all kinds of embarrassment, because my two older brothers had more stuffed animals than I did.I had a mountain lion named Simba who was enormous but was vegetarian and ate nothing but Caesar salads (I should really introduce him to Dorothy), and a panda bear who used to be a star soccer player, but was reinjured (code for leg came off) so many times that he was now washed up and extremely bitter. I also had a dog who was incredibly, incredibly stupid; his name was Clifford and he was my favorite. Somehow I also had a penguin named Banana. (OK, quick thought about the word banana: I absolutely hate spelling it because I'm never quite sure when to stop. Attempt #1 always looks like this: bananana, at which point Spell Check flips out. Attempt #2 will look something like this: bana. Thankfully, Gwen Stefani came on the scene with "Hollaback Girl" and has solved this problem forever. Unfortunately, humanity is left with bigger problems, like what the heck is a hollaback girl?)
To read the rest, go here. My only quibble is that Simba was actually my stuffed animal.
Nathan O'Halloran, SJ