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But I don’t know his name

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

February 17, 2021

I know his face, but I don’t know his name.

I know he attends Mass at St. Mary’s in Brushton, where my family also attends Mass.

I was pleasantly surprised when he started chatting with me as I paid my family’s brunch bill at the local diner after Mass a few weeks ago.

“I really enjoy your writing in the North Country Catholic,” he said.

I smiled, and I thanked the man for his kind words.

“But you’re so hard on yourself.”

Ouch. I think my smile faded.

I know I’m hard on myself. I know I hold myself to a standard I wouldn’t dare to impose on anyone else. But it’s oddly jarring when a relative stranger points it out.

As we begin the season of Lent, it’s easy to focus on the penitential part – the part where we try to root out our sinfulness. For me, at least at this time in my life, doing that can feed into the “you’re too hard on yourself” part of my personality.

Luckily, Lent isn’t just about penance. Lent is about improving our relationship with the Lord. It’s about drawing closer to Him.

There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach for that.

Instead of giving something up this Lent, I’m going to add a practice intended to help me honestly know myself better and draw closer to the Lord. It’s going to be an exercise in gratitude.

Every day, I plan to make a list of three things for which I am grateful – one gift/talent/positive attribute I see in myself, a place I see God working in the world around me and one non-defined reason for which I am grateful (a free space of sorts).

I’m hoping that by honestly reflecting on the gifts God has given me and the world, I’ll learn to appreciate and focus on those parts of myself more. I’m hoping I’ll focus more on how loved I am by God and how much He has given me and less on the struggles and lesser parts of my personality.

I’m hoping I can learn to see myself a little more honestly and see God’s working in my life more clearly.

While the man’s words in that local diner stung in the moment, they inspired my Lenten practice.

Even though I don’t know his name.

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