Easter is coming soon, and by the time it gets here my church is going to receive a rather large donation of cash!
I am a southern Methodist girl who wasn’t raised believing it was a law that I must fast or make a sacrifice for Lent. However, years ago, I thought observance of the Lenten season was a great way to show my appreciation to the Lord.
I gave up dark chocolate one year, and it nearly killed me! By the time Easter arrived, most of the chocolate bunnies in the south had been consumed by the out-of-control mother who was stealing them out of the kids’ Easter baskets.
My daughter, who moved to Seattle to be close to Starbucks, decided to sacrifice her beloved java for Lent. After 40 days of headaches, grumpiness and falling asleep during business meetings, she decided never to give up the dark, soothing magic of coffee again.
I have foregone sugar, fried foods and a host of other goodies for Lent in my lifetime of loving the Lord, but none has been as difficult as this one. Nope, not even dark chocolate.
I live with an Italian husband from New Orleans who would never, and I do mean ever, give up food for Lent or anybody. He just couldn’t physically handle such a feat, so I didn’t suggest it at all. If I suggested he needed to sacrifice his beloved pizza for nearly six weeks, he would have driven his Italian car to the hills, never to be heard from again. Even God knew it was asking way too much.
Finally, I came up with an ingenious plan. Since both of us have a terrible habit of saying some non-printable words often out of frustration with our computers, politicians, bad drivers or cell phones, we would vow not to use them for 40 days and beyond. If we should slip and say one of those #!!X@!! words, we would throw money in the jar sitting on our kitchen counter. On Easter Sunday we would then give it as an offering to our church. Surely this would be pleasing to God and hopefully not as difficult as giving up candy Easter bunnies and not as death-defying for David as giving up pizza.
Well, unfortunately, we now have no money to buy one chocolate bunny or a pizza! The jar was quickly replaced with a bucket, and one can also hear the faint sound of the Lord’s laughter with each rustling of the dollar as it is stuffed into His pail.
When I think of the few funny tales surrounding those non-printable, blankety-blank-blank words, I laugh! The story of my three-year-old brother whose beloved grandfather had just finished building him a sandbox is priceless.
Granddaddy was a tall, handsome and godly man who taught Sunday School and was a Baptist deacon. His daughter, my mother, never said an expletive in her life. Her go-to phrase was “fiddlesticks” when she would get frustrated. I never understood what violin bows had to do with anything, but it seemed to suppress her frustration and keep her daddy from putting the dreaded soap in her mouth.
♦ Granddaddy was watching John as he tried to fill a pail of sand and dump it just right. When my brother couldn’t make the sand form what he envisioned, he softly said, “Well, da!”
“What did you say, John?” his grandfather asked in disbelief.
♦ The three-year-old replied a tiny bit louder, “Da!”
The Deacon rested his hands on his hips and repeated,
“John, what are you saying?”
♦ My sweet brother then yelled loudly, “Granddaddy, can’t you hear?! I said, WELL DA!”
“Where did you hear such a word, son?” He asked as his anger rose.
“From my daddy!” the three-year-old honestly and proudly shouted.
And just like that, the last time John saw his new sandbox for many days was as his Granddaddy was hauling him into the house to wash his mouth out with a bar of Ivory soap.
And just like that, the Deacon became a bonafide preacher when he delivered my daddy a fire and brimstone sermon my father recalled for the next 50 years.
By the time these 40 days have passed, hopefully our foul words will be forever gone, and Granddaddy can rest in peace as I learn to fiddle my sticks and no longer steal chocolate bunnies. The whole idea of Lent is to give up, give in and grow for the love of the Lord. He endured 40 days in a barren wilderness tempted by Satan and survived only to return to give his life for us.
Giving up chocolate bunnies, pizza, coffee, expletives and a bucket full of money is the least we can do for him.