Friday, January 18, 2013

Why I Got Up At 5:30 a.m. On New Year's Day

As per the preceding blog post, let it be known that I have finally returned to the sacraments. All good, right?

Well, maybe not, if you're plagued with scrupulosity.

From Wikipedia (which is admittedly not always the best source):

"Scrupulosity is a psychological disorder characterized by pathological guilt about moral or religious issues. It is personally distressing, objectively dysfunctional, and often accompanied by significant impairment in social functioning.[1] It is typically conceptualized as a moral or religious form of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD),[2] although this categorization is empirically disputable.[1] The term is derived from the Latin scrupulum, a sharp stone, implying a stabbing pain on the conscience.[1] Scrupulosity was formerly called scruples in religious contexts, but the word scruples now commonly refers to a troubling of the conscience rather than to the disorder.
As a personality trait, scrupulosity is a recognized diagnostic criterion for obsessive–compulsive personality disorder.[3] It is sometimes called "scrupulousness," but that word properly applies to the positive trait of having scruples."

For the record, many theologians might take issue with this definition. Or maybe not.

To most Catholics, scrupulosity isn't as extreme as this Wikipedia definition makes it. Certainly it's not for me. However, in fairness, I need to point out that there are Catholics who suffer scrupulosity to the degree it's explained above, and they are a special/extreme case.

For most who have garden-variety scrupulosity, it's more a nagging thinking process that makes one question whether or not something they did, said, or thought is a venial or mortal sin. Or whether decisions made in one's life qualify as objectively sinful or not. And worrying about it more than would be normal or healthy. Even possibly pre-worrying about decisions and actions that haven't even happened yet.

Which is exactly what happened to me this past New Year's. You know, that little "holy day of obligation" thing on January first?

Here's our deal: Every New Year's Eve since we've been married (except one) we have spent the night at the home of good friends so that we can ring in the New Year as late as we want and not drive home. We have fondue, a few drinks, and play games. Last year, we set off fireworks. Then the next morning, my friend makes a great big New Year's breakfast and we basically hang out all day into the next evening.

None of which leaves room for going to mass on a holy day of obligation without screwing up the big, fantastic breakfast that my non-Catholic friend makes, and which is important to her and to us.

Oh, yeah, they have those afternoon masses of anticipation the day before around 4 and 5 p.m. Except we're always scurrying around our house like freaks at about that time, packing up stuff to spend the night and making platters of food, etc., to bring to our friends home.

So for our entire marriage, I don't think we've ever made it to mass on January first, save for maybe once?

This year, since I had just been to confession and communion for the first time in 22 months, I was immediately seized with the distinct possibility that I would put myself right back into the same boat I had just left if I missed mass on January first. And boy was I mad and upset about it.

See, I believe my worry about putting myself right back into a state of mortal sin was scrupulosity, as well as the evil one working to accomplish the same. To me, scrupulosity plus the devil equals "don't go," since going would then be an act against my free will, rather than an act of desire and love for God. I firmly believe that going to mass - any mass - out of fear of hell is an automatic reason to NOT go to mass.

Still, I peeked at the mass schedules for Catholic parishes near my friend, hoping some mass time that didn't interfere with our New Year's plans would magically appear. And it did! At 11:00 P.M. on New Year's Eve or 6:00 A.M. on New Year's Day morning. Lovely. I said to John, "Yeah, let's tell our friends that we want to spend New Year's Even with them, but then bail for an 11:00 p.m. mass. That'll look great! Or hey, we want to spend New Year's with you, but we want to make noise before the sun is up and after we've all just had like four hours of sleep to go to mass. They'll sure love having us over! Not."

So I ignored it. For awhile. Until the guilt and loathing overtook me.

Sometime before midnight, I whispered to John, "What if we got up at 5:30 a.m. and just went to mass totally tired and came back and tried to go back to sleep? We'll just try to be really quiet coming and going so we don't wake anyone up." (Caveat Emptor: Their dog hears anything and everything and just starts barking insanely. And If Alan hears us, he'll be awake, and then EVERYONE will be awake. And the number of times in my life when I've been able to go back to sleep after being up can be counted on one hand.) Honestly, the whole idea was depressing and seemed utterly ridiculous, especially on a day when the temperature that morning was in the single digits.

I have to admit, John did hesitate when I made this proposition, but he eventually agreed. Note that John is not the type to hesitate when it comes to duty to the Church and God. I point this out to show how completely the whole idea was at odds with the situation.

We did it. We rolled out of bed at 5:30 a.m., threw our clothes on over our pajamas, bundled up in coats and scarves, literally tiptoed out of the house, froze our asses off scraping ice off our frigidly cold car, and drove the 7-8 miles to the church, the journey of which was devoid of any other vehicle than ours until we turned into the entrance to the church.

Of course, being almost the only humans on earth stupid enough to get up at that hour and go to mass on New Year's Day, we ran into someone we knew there, with neither of us having even combed our hair, and my husband's hair literally sticking up on one side from sleeping on it. But we made it! We got to that mass on a holy day of obligation!

And for what? I still don't know. I'm supposed to say for the graces that come with mass and for the Eucharist, etc., right? OK, fine. I got that and I am thankful. But I still can't shake the feeling that I went so as not to be in mortal sin and I resent it. I don't feel that I did it for love of God (well, OK, maybe a little), rather, I feel like I did it out of a sense of "have to, gotta, must."

I believe I got up at 5:30 a.m. on New Year's Day because I am scrupulous. Because I have an irrational sense of guilt that was already in play before I even had something to be guilty for. Because I was afraid.

This is not to say there wasn't anything good about the mass. Of course there was; I recall some great moments of prayer and being excited about the beautiful Christmas decorations. I know I was happy to be back in that communion line.

But still.

So now that I'm back from the "dark side," I'm consumed with worry about crossing the line back over there.

And by the way, my friend did hear us trying to leave the house before the crack of dawn, and when we returned, her dog went berserk when we came back in the front door, waking everyone up. Sigh. However, miracle of miracles, myself and everyone did manage to get back to sleep. Coincidence?


  1. I think it is ok to do the right thing for the "wrong" reasons. For example, I take care of my kids even though, sometimes, I really don't want to feed them, shop for groceries, make sure they do what they are supposed to do. Maybe I even do the "right" things for my kids because of what someone else thinks rather than what I think. Perhaps some day you will keep the holy days out of love rather than fear and guilt, but in the meantime, it is fine to do it just because you are "supposed" to. By, the way, I'm so happy to see you back in blog world. I have always enjoyed what you write, whether I've always agreed or not. It is good to have people in your life who make you think!

  2. Very interesting. Spent most of my adult life suffering with the same symptoms. Had to trust that God would bring me an answer, which turned out to be that He WILL lead me to where he wants me to be.

  3. I understand this. Perhaps we all have it a little bit in our own ways? I'll admit that we didn't go to mass this day, or for that past 2 weekends (well, we 'tried', but not really hard).... and I'm starting not to care. Bad, I know. But still I read all sorts of things from all sorts of people and the one thing I remember is that going to mass is not for one to feel good. (Or something along those lines, I am hardly eloquent what with my tremendous sleep defecit). We go we go we go, because it is our obligation. With time, things will fall into place. There is no perfect Catholic :) This is what I HOPE, anyhow. Follow the rules, and grace will come in its OWN way, not in ways you are expecting or in ways it does for other people.
    Sorry for my rambling, I seem to be talking to myself as much as you. Nice to see a second post today!

  4. Scrupulosisty doesn't sound fun. I think one of the worst things about it is that it doesn't allow God room to work freely in us. We are called to act out of love for Him, to give our all for Him. Scruples seems to bind one to the idea that it is black and white, very legalistic. It doesn't provide room for the fact that giving our all out of love for Him will look different for each one of us...and for each of us at different times in our lives. Yes, willfully missing Mass is a sin. But He's so loving and merciful that He's provided us with the Sacrament of Confession to bridge the gap of what HE asks and what we are able to give, and to keep the graces flowing to us. Christ is the ultimate bridge builder, scruples seeks to blind one to the bridge and even to knock you off the bridge once you've made any tentative steps onto it to walk towards God.

  5. Little Spool, have we ever run into each other or had opportunity to run into each other?

    1. Char, when your old blog went private, I told you in an email that I was pretty sure I saw you once at Holy Hill, but felt stupid with myself and didn't say hi or anything (I'm shy, and I think I was in a bad mood that day). Other than that, I've not seen you again. We do have family that lives in your town. :)

  6. Charlotte,

    I LOVE this story. I don't really give a fig about the scrupulosity part- what I read in between the lines is an act of FAITH- and making a plan to begin your New Year at Mass. You worked hard to figure it out. I love *you* for your honesty and earnestness and your willingness to sacrifice your comfort to do so. This, to me, is a story of grace in action in your life.

    And, I didn't post a comment on your first new blog post, but THAT was powerful stuff. I don't recall whether you were seeing a therapist or a spiritual director, but I hope they have been telling you to keep it up. Your readers get the benefit of your hard work. I am humbled by your willingness to put it all out there for the rest of us. God bless you!

  7. I recommend Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, a doctor of the church who suffered from scruples and talked of them being necessary for the beginning of conversion, he's my saint for the year. I love your story because you are willing to share that you struggle with your faith, which is the story we are all supposed to be writing.

  8. Well, I'm married to someone who suffers from scrupulosity and I am empathetic. However, I don't quite understand how this instance is "scrupulosity."

    The Catholic Church tells us that we are required to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. For some people that's easy and for others it's hard. It's not optional like choosing to not eat meat on Friday or attending Mass on those holy days that get transferred to a Sunday. I'm kind of in the group that thinks maybe that is the HARDEST part about being a Catholic because there are days and times when I don't want to go ANYWHERE. The church considers it a mortal sin to miss Mass "through your own fault." Those guidelines are pretty clear.

    I think you absolutely did the right thing by making the effort to attend Mass and I don't think it was scrupulosity. Sure, it was inconvenient, and maybe it even woke up the dog and other people. But those are just incidental to the act which for some reason or other, the church says is very important for us--attending Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.

    I think it's easy to rationalize that since no one appears to be hurt by our NOT attending Mass, that it isn't really that important. It's kind of a mystery to me WHY it's a mortal sin to miss Mass. However, I also realize that if it were something optional, I would be tempted to sleep in, or do other things, mostly not important, rather than attending Mass. Pretty soon, I'd be not giving much thought to prayer or trying to be a faithful Catholic at all. We go at 5 on Sunday evenings because we can't get it together to go earlier:-)

    When we consider the statistics on the number of Catholics who attend Mass weekly and find it down in the teens, we get an idea of how MANY people are failing for one reason or another, to be faithful to this requirement. I think eventually this leads to moving away from God and His grace and we become just like the secular humanists who try to be "good people" without belonging to any religion. But we are called to be "saints." I fail in this every day. I think it's the grace of the sacraments which enables us to keep trying to be saints, especially in a world which is increasingly not conducive to holiness, in fact rather hostile toward it.

    But I think you absolutely did the right thing and I can't see how that could be considered scrupulosity.

    I'm so happy that you're blogging again and I'm also happy that some else asked the question I would have asked on the first post, if I'd actually gotten around to doing it. Kay

  9. Okay, I just have to weigh in on this one. :)

    Those are some freaky weird Mass times for a Holy Day of Obligation. And I say that as someone who routinely complains about the scheduling of Masses for Holy Days of Obligation...

    11 p.m. New Year's Eve? 6 a.m. New Year's Day? And that's it? Seriously?

    That's just...wrong. Even without taking into consideration that you're talking about a part of the country that routinely gets horrible winter weather, those Mass times rule out many families with small children, many elderly people (who may need a bit of time to get ready in the morning but are certainly not gallivanting around at midnight), etc.

    So here's what you do next year: see if there's a Mass of Anticipation that you can get to without interfering with your packing/planning/food prep time (perhaps you can do some of that a day ahead?).

    If there really isn't, tell your pastor about your dilemma, and see if he thinks it would be justified for him to use his pastoral authority to dispense you from the obligation. Did you know pastors can do that? They can! (See CCC 2181). And I have a feeling that if you were to tell him that the only Masses where your friends live are at 11 p.m. or 6 a.m., he would at least consider a dispensation.

    So, to recap: if you honestly can get to a Mass where you live before you go to your friends' house with nothing more than a little advance planning and slight inconvenience, then you should probably go for that option next year.

    But if you're talking about a considerable drive to your parish and back plus an hour for Mass in the midst of getting ready for an overnight trip--talk to your pastor and see what he recommends. If he dispenses you from the obligation, he may request that you perform some other spiritual work or prayer in its place.

    I know some pastors who will routinely dispense parishioners from their Sunday obligation if they are traveling to countries hostile to Catholicism or will be on a cruise ship, etc.--not that many ships don't offer Mass anyway, or they might be able to arrange their travel, but just so they don't have to *worry* about it. If they can get to Mass anyway while dispensed, great! But if they're passing through, say, Saudi Arabia from a Saturday afternoon until the Monday, they don't have to risk their lives or the lives of their hosts by attending a Mass somewhere.

  10. I agree with everything Red Cardigan said, good suggestions. Also some of my friends believe that when people are traveling, Mass is not obligatory. There seem to be conflicting opinions about that. Anticipatory Masses and the internet certainly make it a lot easier than it used to be though to find Masses at convenient times. I think it's really neat that you got to Mass in spite of the challenges. Kay

  11. Hi Charlotte, welcome back! Interesting post. New Years Day is always a challenge for us as well, we have a party the night before, and then (non-Catholic) relatives stay over. We do have plenty of Masses the next morning available, but then that would involve telling the guests that we are going. Which would be fine, except I suspect they would want to come and then I get into all sorts of worries that they would present themselves for Communion! Argh. Anyway. This year we found the perfect solution...a Spanish Mass at 3 pm on New Year's Day, after the guests had gone home. Whew!

    I admit I don't understand your train of thought here...You feel guilty because you are going only because you know it is a sin not to go? Why would that make you feel guilty? I guess I have days like that, but I force myself to go because I know I have to, and I always receive something wonderful from it of course. Think of it as your mother knowing that it is best for you to eat a balanced dinner, and you resisting it because you want to eat candy instead, but then later when you are not having a sugar crash, you know your mother was right : )

    Anyway, glad to see you back on the internets!


    1. This is John (Char's husband)....Catlady, you're right about not understanding her train of thought - it is to some degree a disordered one, and that's the point about what she struggles with, and this New Years Day Mass is only an example.

      "You feel guilty because you are going only because you know it is a sin not to go? Why would that make you feel guilty?"

      Try to understand. The reason is because she suffers from some degree of scrupulosity, and her mind WILL NOT ALLOW her, in the normal circumstance, to arrive at the very legitimate conclusion you rightly point out. Getting her to that conclusion involves tons of effort and not a little time. I know because I'm along for the whole ride.

      It is, however, a battle worth fighting, and one which is continuously renewed, as she journeys to better pastures.

  12. Red,
    I feel bad saying this, but I think you missed the entire point of this post. But before I get to that, since you're into the details and mechanics of it all:

    -We were only an hour away from home. Like when you're in Dallas an hour away from home, which means we're traveling from the southernmost "suburb" of Milwaukee to the northernmost suburb of Milwaukee, etc.

    -There were PLENTY of New Year's Day masses to go to near where we were spending the night. All over the place at 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m., etc. The point was that ALL of those mass times interfered with our non-Catholic friends' annual New Years breakfast - both the preparations and the eating.

    -The 11:00 PM mass time on New Year's Eve was at Holy Hill (and the 6:00 a.m. mass that we went to the next morning), which is one of the two basilicas in the Milwaukee area. The 11:00 p.m. mass was a "ring in the new year with God" kind of thing, including a holy hour. I liked that idea and actually wanted to go, but like I said, it's pretty rude to say you're spending New Year's Eve with friends and then bail out to go to an 11 p.m. mass. And quite frankly, I also think it was questionable/semi-rude to want to risk waking everyone up before 6:00 a.m. for us to get to a mass.

    What I didn't want to do here was focus on all this mass times/difficulty of getting to a holy day of obligation. That to me is part of the problem - when we're all bound up in the minutiae, which is, to me, a stepping stone to scrupulosity. Getting bogged down with all the planning and worry of it was a major piece of the pie as to why I just wanted to ignore the holy day....because I knew it was just gonna be an opportunity for me to incessantly worry about falling into mortal sin again over something so.....sorry to say it, trivial. People can debate whether a holy day of obligation is trivial, but for me, if adhering to the obligation presented an opportunity for to go right back to the place I had been, I didn't want to "go there."


    1. Since I simply "forgot" to go to mass on New Year's Day, despite having the day off from work, and only remembered when I read my friends on the internet talking about it, I think I probably am not in any position to criticize you. I am used to having priests pass over "I missed mass" without comment in confession, so I was pretty taken aback by the response of the priest at the EF mass, who wanted to discern with me whether I *really* forgot and whether I was actually in mortal sin. Oops! I guess I will be more careful from now on. These are some serious dudes here, and I appreciate that, but...
      However, from the serious dude point of view, how about telling your non-Catholic friends that attending mass on a Holy Day has to be a priority for you, and so you will be skipping out on some of the preparation time to do so? How about preparing a dish in advance which you can bring, so you aren't shirking your part of it?
      It does sound a bit as if you think this obligation is really very unreasonable because it interferes with your life. I admit, I think that sometimes myself. But I think that if there is sin in it, it is in that attitude.
      If the reason you went is pure and simply to obey the church, that is a good reason. If you did it to "stay out of mortal sin", you would only believe that it is sin because you accept the church's rule. I think God accepts that as a desire to obey Him.
      As far as rudeness to your friends, are they really friends? It sounds as if they are. Then wouldn't they happily accept some minor inconvenience so that you could obey God and be at peace with your conscience? Wouldn't you do that for them?
      Susan Peterson

    2. I started replying to this earlier in the week, got interrupted, forgot to get back...well, you know. :)

      But I did want to thank you for clearing up the Mass availability thing. Around here Masses for a Holy Day are becoming as rare as winter snow, and I'm getting a bit sick of it, so I carried my own lens into the debate, I'm afraid.

      Since you've clarified, though, let me just make a sort of analogy that occurred to me when I was thinking about this.

      Suppose a child in a family is really tired of having to go to Grandma and Grandpa's every Sunday for dinner. Now, he likes G&G just fine, and doesn't mind spending time with them, but the whole "Sunday dinner" thing is just so...formal. He has to have a bath, he has to put on decent clothes instead of play clothes (though one cousin gets to wear play cloths, while another has to wear a suit every week, but hey, his parents are weird). He has to mind his manners and say "please" and "thank you." And the whole dinner is formal and lasts an hour or so, with courses served in the grand manner and everyone waiting to begin their soup until Grandpa says grace and Grandma picks up her spoon, and there's no slurping allowed or refusing anything because it's "yucky," and invariably one great-aunt starts reading aloud the latest letters she got from smart-but-cranky Uncle Paul which go on and on...

      ...well, you get the idea. :)

      Anyway, one day this little boy learns to his horror that *this* week it's Grandma's birthday on Wednesday and what she wants most of all is...another family dinner! In the middle of the week! During his playtime after school! He'll miss getting to play, he'll miss his favorite TV show, he won't get to throw off his school uniform and get into something a boy can get decently dirty...and so on. He gets pretty mad about this. Why should he go to Grandma's an *extra* day? Isn't once a week enough? Sure, he loves her, but his teenaged cousin loves her too and yet she hasn't shown up for a family dinner since she graduated from high school...

      His mother gently explains to him that these family dinners are about having a relationship with Grandma, Grandpa, and the whole family, and that his grandparents are patient with those who don't come, especially when they have a good reason (like the time he was sick last month)--but it does hurt them to think that their sons or daughters or grandchildren don't want to be with them, especially since Grandma and Grandpa love all of them so much and constantly make sacrifices for them all, even if they don't always realize it...

      Like all analogies, this one is decidedly imperfect (and I especially don't wish to draw any comparisons between G&G's very human feelings and the way God relates to us). But our Holy Mother Church is a good mother, and like any good mother she knows perfectly well that her flawed but loveable children won't *always* get their fannies out of bed to spend the minimum amount of weekly time with our Father and with Christ and the Holy Spirit unless she makes a few rules about it all. If we were better masters of our fallen natures we wouldn't need those rules, but we're not. We get a handful of extra days a year to arrange to get to Mass, and our attitude is often rather like my fictional little boy and the family dinner thing. Sure, the spiritual adults around us may love the extra Masses the way the adults in my story love the family dinners and look forward to them, but we often act like the kid being deprived of a few precious hours of freedom in exchange for something that on the surface can seem a bit boring.

  13. People are wondering why I'm saying that my going to the holy day of obligation mass was done out of a sense of scrupulousness?

    Go back to the wikipedia definition I provided in this entry: "pathological guilt about religious or moral issues....stabbing pain on the conscience...troubling of the conscience." For ME (Char alone), if I had NOT gone to that mass, even if it was for a really legit reason, it would have drove me crazy (all over again) to be back in a state of mortal sin and to wonder if my "legit" reason had been legit enough - was I REALLY in a state of mortal sin, etc? I wasn't willing to go through that kind of mental torture.

    I know some people would say that my stated reasons for not going weren't legit enough to miss a holy day of obligation. Perhaps, perhaps not. I am torn over the idea that an admittedly semi-stupid western culture pagan holiday that I really, honestly, could care less about should take precedence over a holy day of obligation. Of course I'm not saying that New Year's Day is more important than God. But the fact remains that the Church is asking people to go to mass on a day that is a major "holiday" throughout the world. Isn't it pretty obvious that people stay up very, very late the night before? I mean, if they really want people to go to mass on January 1st, shouldn't we have masses at noon and three in the afternoon?

    But see, I'm getting back into the details and the minutiae. Which is a total dead-end for me. So it was either feel totally "off" by going to a mass at a ridiculous time so that I didn't have to incessantly worry about mortal sin (which is what I chose to do)- OR - do what I felt was natural, given the situation, and forgo the mass, worrying incessantly about mortal sin, which I had just spent, basically, two years worrying about.

    The incessant worry/anxiety absolutely is part of scrupulosity. People think it's always the ones who do everything right, according to the Church, who are scrupulous, and wondering if it's good enough. You know, people standing in line with large handwritten lists of sins to confess.

    However, some of us are so internally scrupulous that we WON'T do what's required because we'd rather be satisfied with the knowledge that what we did WAS ACTUALLY BONAFIDE WRONG (like all the months and months of missing mass), rather than do the right thing and constantly wondering if it was right/good enough/a sin. Does that make any sense? I hope so; what I'm trying to say is hard to explain.

    Unless I went to mass on January 1st really wanting to be there, I question the entire act. Maybe God doesn't, maybe He is pleased with my obedience. But what He thinks and how my own thinking plagues me are two very different things. I have to live with my own tortured conscience and thoughts, and quite frankly, I'd rather be tortured by real sin. Which I have plenty to be tortured by anyway.

  14. Catlady says: "I admit I don't understand your train of thought here...You feel guilty because you are going only because you know it is a sin not to go? Why would that make you feel guilty?"

    I just do. Like the wikipedia definition says, scrupulosity is related to OCD. Obsessive personality and all that. A pull to perfectionism. Which sucks, trust me. So in my opinion and in the opinion of good spiritual advisers, it is better for me to often go with my own conscience and make decisions that don't throw me into tons of guilt. It's a wicked trap.

  15. Kay,
    I have NEVER tried to rationalize not going to mass with the excuse, "I'm not hurting anyone by not going." NEVER.

    When I don't go to mass it's either a.) I just don't want to go (which is more honest) and/or b.) I'm in a state of mortal sin, can't go to communion, so why bother?

  16. Thanks for your further explanation Charlotte...I get your train of thought now. I have an anxiety disorder myself, so you think I would understand more easily! But alas, anxiety is a big messy beast that manifests in all different ways.

    Back to the New Years Day question...I wrote above my dilemma with having guests over. I'm starting to think that maybe making the Mass has to be the priority, and maybe that is NOT the night to see friends/stay out late/have overnight guests? Which is kind of a bummer. I remember growing up, it was the opposite. We went to Mass in the morning on New Years Day, and then had another big, holiday dinner later that day. That seems to make more sense now that I think about it, but that's now how it is celebrated anymore I guess. Good food for thought anyway.


  17. I'm not a doctor or therapist, but can you try not to focus so much on your feelings? Is it possible? Does it matter if you temporarily "feel badly" about something if it passes and you end up doing nothing about it? Does that make any sense? I mean, you got up and went to Mass at 5:30 am. Good for you! That demonstrates determination and self control. I can relate to this mode of behavior, for me it appears with eating/exercise. If I go a day without exercising or eating right or if I drink too much wine the night before, I'm wracked with feelings of self loathing and guilt, that don't disappear until I actually go out and exercise. Does that make any sense? So if you blew off Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation you would feel so.much.worse. than being annoyed at having to be there in the first place.

  18. Beth, all I know is that I got a sewing machine for Christmas last year and I've used it twice to sew shut some rips and I need some lessons........