My friend Toby, who lives in Louisiana, tells a wonderful Mardi Gras story about her son Jeff. When Jeff was a little boy he decided to celebrate the Mardi Gras in costume as his favorite hero. Caught up in the commotion of the day, he wandered off during a parade. His family couldn’t find him, so a massive search ensued, including a group dressed in Native American regalia.
The Mardi Gras “Indians” eventually came across a little boy who matched the description of the missing child. One of the men asked “Are you Jeff Bassett?” Undaunted, Jeff answered bravely, “No, I am Davy Crockett.”
Doesn’t that just make you smile? Children really know how to embrace celebrations, even when things get a little scary.
Unfortunately, we adults tend to let all sorts of worries and problems dim our feast days. I spent a lot of time this week looking at paczki displays, dreaming about how good a cream-filled paczki would taste, but each time I faced one of those calorie laden treats I began to fret about my weight. And so I went paczki-less.
Of course, good health must come first, but once a year, one paczki? Come on, Sue, lighten up!
Now, my serious-minded self embarks upon the Lenten Season when many Christians elect to give up something in their lives as a token of their appreciation for what Jesus Christ gave up to become our Savior.
A few years back, the Lord impressed upon me that, rather than chocolate, I should give up whining for Lent. After all, the really out-of-control part of my life wasn’t sweets but self-pity.
I can’t say it was an entirely successful experiment. Giving up whining is tough. I seem to have so much to whine about. Like not buying any paczkis. Or the long winter, or the dog throwing up on the rug, or the line at the check out counter….
About halfway through that Lenten Season, I began to feel like a failure. Despite my best efforts, I was still whining regularly. I finally decided that the problem lay in my attitude rather than in my efforts. I approached Lent as a time of deprivation rather than a time to celebrate and encourage spiritual growth. I came to realize that even though I didn’t achieve perfection, I had cut down on my whining, and I had become a more thankful person.
This year for Lent, once again I’m trying to give up whining, and Jeff in his Davy Crockett costume is my inspiration. Like him, I’ll embrace the possibilities and become the strong person I envision myself to be.
How better to face the wild frontier of grateful living?
(Photograph copyright, Toby Bassett. Used by permission of Toby, Jeff, and Cecette Bassett. Davy Crockett story told by Toby Bassett. Copyright, 2014, Toby Bassett. Used with permission.)