I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
It does seem rather unfair that Valentine’s Day should fall within Lent. Those heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will cause a great deal of conflict for the people who have given up chocolate for Lent. It made me think of a funny, true story from Lent a number of years ago.
My father-in-law was quite elderly and living alone. My husband would drive the 20 miles over the hill to visit him usually at least twice a week, sometimes more if there was a problem. One day, early in Lent, he called our house.
“Sarah,” he said, “could you send Bobby over? I feel so weak.”
“Do you need an ambulance?” I asked him. “It’s going to take Bobby at least half an hour to get there.”
“I’ve been feeling like this for a few days now,” he said. “It’s just getting worse. I can wait for Bobby, though.”
I immediately got my husband to head over and asked him to call me if there was something seriously wrong. Sometimes his father’s emergencies were as silly as needing help folding his underwear, but one time it was because he hadn’t urinated in over a day. So it could be serious, or it could be nothing. We never knew.
Bobby called me about an hour later, laughing. “He’s going to be fine,” he said.
“What happened?” I asked.
He was still laughing. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he said, but then added, “I’ll tell you when I get home.”
Later that day, when Bobby got home, he was still laughing.
“What happened with your dad?” I asked.
“Well, you know it’s Lent,” he said, “and you know that Pop is a devout Catholic and always gives up something for Lent.”
“Yes,” I answered, “but what did he give up that made him feel so sick?”
“Well, you know how he loves chocolate?”
I interrupted. “He felt sick because he wasn’t getting his chocolate?” I asked, incredulously.
“No,” Bobby laughed. “He got confused about Lent. He gave up everything but chocolate.”
“You mean he wasn’t eating or drinking anything but chocolate for these past few days?” I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.
“That’s right,” Bobby confirmed, “and it made him feel sick.”
I think that would make anyone sick! Bobby got him some healthy foods to eat and sat him with him until he had eaten and felt better.
We laughed a lot about it, but we also recognized how serious it could be. His confusion had led to very poor eating habits. Meals on Wheels may drop off a nutritious dinner, but they don’t make sure the recipient eats it.
It wasn’t long after the chocolate incident that he went into a nursing home. There he received wonderful care and ate three healthy meals a day. And there he eventually died in his 90s.
So, a word to the wise. Chocolate may taste delicious, but man cannot live on chocolate alone. We know someone who tried it.