I love small comforts. I mean, I really love them. Being a homebody means I don’t go in for the big bangs. I don’t want to spend my Saturday skiing or going to concerts or boutique hopping. I would rather be home, reading to my kiddos or watching Judah kick the ball with his daddy in our backyard.
It’s the small things I love. A glass of wine when it’s time to make dinner. Nursing my first cup of coffee before it’s time to get babies up. Sitting outside on a summer evening waiting for the sun to set. One more episode of our current favorite TV show. A family breakfast that lingers into the morning. I would choose these things over a camping trip or a concert or an amusement park any day, hands down.
And now it’s Lent. A time to remove one or more of the small things for the sake of denying ourselves. Facebook, alchohol, coffee, comfort sleep, desserts. The theology is pretty straightforward. We worship a Jesus who denied Himself for us. During this time of year when we remember His Passion it makes sense to deny ourselves something tangible. We walk the same road He walked. We take up our cross like He took up His.
I get the theology. I understand it. I want to take up my cross. I want to show my Jesus that I love Him and I am willing to walk His path. Surely giving up my glass of wine is a pretty small thing to do and surely I can do it for the weeks of Lent.
But there’s a problem. I really don’t like to give up my small comforts. I love my small comforts. I love to live in the present. I love to enjoy each moment that I live and I love each moment to be just right. I see my life as a string of wonderful experiences that shape who I am. Seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time; performing the first movement of Schumann’s piano concerto; climbing around in the Catacombs outside of Rome; those first awakening moments of falling in love with my husband; walking down the aisle on my father’s arm; waiting for Josh to come out of the room where he successfully defended his PhD thesis; holding Judah for the first time; handing him over to be baptized. These moments are tastes of Glory and I want the tastes of Glory all the time. The small comforts are small tastes and I love them and cherish them.
But it’s not time for Glory yet. This is what has struck me this Lent. God gives us tastes of joy – He fills our lives with good things, but I must live in the future too. Jesus is waiting for all the evil and heart break and human suffering to end. I need to wait too. This present day is not Glory. It is not perfection. There is joy to come that I can only imagine. Denying myself a small comfort is to affirm the coming joy – the joy that is not yet.
I am glad for Lent, glad for its self denial, its reminders of the way of suffering, the opportunity it gives for me to re-focus my purpose. But self denial by itself is pretty lame. Lent is good. Easter is better. On Easter I’ll pour my glass of wine and say, “To the coming King!”