A good week for happiness


Today marks the beginning of a very strange triad of days: Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday and St. Valentine’s Day. With such different days in such close proximity, it might be good to highlight some essentials of decorum for the week.
It’s popular to view Mardi Gras as a day of uncontrollable indulgence, as though the point of the day were to glut yourself to the point of a painless Ash Wednesday fast; at the very least, it often seems that Mardi Gras celebrations are characterized by shamefaced revelry. They don’t need to be. It’s possible to celebrate Mardi Gras beautifully. Life can be chock-full of delights, and it’s good to remember that before you turn away from those delights in order to enter the penitential season of Lent. Celebrate God’s creation with your Mardi Gras festivity this year; be moderate, be merry and be happy. A sad saint is a bad saint.
And that’s true even on Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a fairly sobering day: A lot of hungry sinners remember that they will die. But that’s nothing to be sad about. Ash Wednesday reminds us that everything is impermanent – except for God. God ­– the Goodness who made the beauty that lights up Mardi Gras, and who forgives the pride and selfishness of dust-made men – never fades away. This Ash Wednesday, be glad for the absence of the things that usually make your days pleasant, and be glad for the presence of the Love that makes your days meaningful. Don’t be glum.
And that’s true even for single people on a Lenten St. Valentine’s Day. St. Valentine is the patron of young people – especially of young engaged couples – and of love. Let’s have none of this SAD nonsense: You might not have a special someone this year, but you probably know at least one couple that warms your heart. Do something kind for them! Be thankful for the love in your life. If you have no special someone to give chocolates to, give chocolates to everyone! Couples, it’s actually okay to be cheesy. Show love, and keep in mind that you at your worst will still be more creative and honest than Hallmark at its best. A reminder: PDA is still considered un-classy, and cheesiness will not be forgiven in the classless. Did she give up chocolate for Lent? Get creative.
Alright, everyone. Go be happy this week.


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