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It shouldn’t make us miserable

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

February 22, 2023

I don’t know what I was thinking.

It was years ago now, possibly a decade ago. I thought it would be very penitential and meaningful to give up coffee for Lent.

As a bit of background, you should probably know I drink a lot of coffee. I easily drink a pot of coffee every day, sometimes more.

It was certainly penitential. I was grumpy and irritable, especially in the mornings. I had frequent headaches.

To put it bluntly, I was miserable. I was making the people around me miserable, too.

I ended the attempt long before Lent ended. I don’t think I made it a week.

I was thinking about that Lent many years ago as I fielded a phone call asking me to take on a Lenten commitment that was overheard by a friend.

“I just want to point out that you have a habit of committing to doing lots of things in Lent, and you make yourself miserable,” my friend said.

I think I’ve been doing Lent wrong.

I often see Lent associated with prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It’s supposed to be about preparing our hearts to enter into Jesus’ passion and death, and to celebrate His resurrection. It’s supposed to be solemn, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be miserable.

If we are spending time in prayer, time with our Lord, that shouldn’t make us miserable.

If we are fasting, making room to move our attention from our needs to what the Lord wants for us, that shouldn’t make us miserable.

If we are giving alms and helping others, that shouldn’t make us miserable.

If we are growing in our relationship with the Lord as we prepare to celebrate His resurrection, it certainly shouldn’t make us miserable.

While I’m still praying and hoping God will show me what He wants of me this Lent, I at least know it shouldn’t make me miserable. Solemn does not mean sullen.

This is time to focus on our Savior.

I know I have a Savior who died and then rose from the dead to save me personally and each of you personally. I have a Savior who loves me that much.

How can that bring me anything but joy? It’s joy I should be sharing with the world, especially during this time.
That feels like much better thinking.

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