Mertz offers advice

The ears of every reporter perked up late this afternoon when Rep. Dolores Mertz asked for a few moments of speaking time on the House floor.  Mertz, as you may know, was one of five Democrats who voted "no" on the prevailing wage bill last Friday. Yesterday, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed an ethics complaint against her and asked the House Speaker to remove her as chair of the House Ag Committee. The speaker said no.

Today, the 80-year-old Mertz addressed none of thoes issues.  She used her speaking time to offer advice about Lent. "I always give up beer & sweets. Now this is painful for me, I want you to know," Mertz said, getting a laugh.  "I always tell my priest, 'It's not the 40 days that get to me.  It's the 40 nights.'" She got more laughter.

"…Maybe we should be thinking what to give up for Lent," Mertz continued, then read from an article she said had been laying around her house for years.  "This is the beginning of Lent.  Churches may vary on how they practice spiritual disciplines during the Lenten season. Many people are looking for things to give up for Lent. If you haven't made up your mind, maybe these will help: 

"Give up grumbling.  Instead, in everything give thanks.

"Constructive criticism is ok, but moaning, groaning and complaining are not Christian disciplines.

"Give up looking at other people's worst points; instead, concentrate on their best points.  We all have faults. It is a lot easier to have people overlook our shortcomings when we overlook theirs first.

"Give up speaking unkindly; instead, let your speech be generous and understanding. It costs so little to say something kind and uplifting. Why not check that sharp tongue at the door?

"Give up your hatred of anyone or anything; instead, learn the discipline of love. Love covers a multitude of sins. 

"Give up your worries and anxieties; instead, trust God with them. Anxiety is spending emotional energy on something we can do nothing about, like tomorrow. Live today and let God's grace be sufficient, 

"Give up judging by appearance and by the standard of the world; instead, learn to give yourself up to God.  There is only one who has the right to judge: Jesus Christ."

That sentence concluded Mertz's reading.  "Thank you, madam speaker," Mertz said to formally conclude her speaking time on the floor.  "Thank you everybody." There was at least 15 seconds of applause, then the House concluded its business for the day. 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.