It was only right to add a day to Lent

Published 7:50 am Wednesday, April 3, 2024

By Steve Stricker

ATTENTION: Late Wednesday night, the Vatican sent out notices that Pope Francis had extended the end of Lent from Holy Thursday to Good Friday! This means – put down that bourbon, dark chocolate, at once!  APRIL FOOLS!!

So, how did that make you feel initially after slugging it out for 44 days and being so eager to resume your “addictions?”  Please continue to read.

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This past Holy Thursday, official end of Lent after 44 long days from Ash Wednesday, dawned clear, cool, sunny, 65 beautiful degrees forecast.  With errands to run around Oxford, giving up alcohol, planned as to when I would uncork that bottle of Heaven’s Door, Single Barrel, Cask Strength, 123.9 proof, Straight Bourbon Whiskey and slowly sip that long-awaited first tipple of sin; I mean swell heavenly bourbon. 

But – something wasn’t right; my conscious was bothering me and had been all during Lent.  The Thursday after Lent began on that Ash Wednesday, February 14, my son Stephen and his twin sons, my grandsons, Trent and Thomas, 2nd and 3rd Trumpets out of 41 (so proud) arrived in Oxford from Kentucky to participate in the Ole Miss 45th Midsouth Honors Band as Stephen had done when he was in high school and was part of my Christmas as I had not seen them for several years – was so excited!

After several awesome rehearsals that first afternoon in the Gertrude C. Ford Performing Arts Center, we went to Roosters for a great supper.  Stephen ordered a drink and since Lent had just begun the day before, gave me a dispensation to have one as well which I appreciated – so consulted my heavenly hero mom, “Gert,” who said absolutely have one and celebrate the boys being there. 

However, although enjoyed my Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, my decision didn’t sit well with my strong will and ethics; once I set my Lenten, or any goals, I rarely go against them and this bothered me all Lent even though the Catholic Church allows a week or two for adjustments to our Lenten Plans.  

This was a hard Lent with familial and health stuff going on which just made it more difficult.  The devil targeted my struggling and tempted me harder to skip daily Mass, Rosary, take a sip of that heavenly bourbon, eat some meat on Friday, nibble on that delicious dark chocolate, drink a cold Guinness Stout, have a small glass of cabernet with supper, etc.

NO!! Begone Satan as the whole purpose of Lent was to struggle some, ignore external things, turn inside and trust God when our strength gets weak and focus on his passion and crucifixion which he endured for love of us.  

As I sat in Kroger at 9:30 a.m. that day, slowly, thoughtfully sipping a Starbucks, decided to add a day back to Lent to make up for that side-step, therefore, Good Friday would now be the end of Lent for me and felt great about it!

The devil didn’t like that idea and reminded me that I had a long day ahead writing this column for the Oxford Eagle, had taken the Heaven’s Door bourbon, wine, out of the sack, cleaned my favorite Glencairn bourbon glass from Scotland, “Scotland,” and was all set to sip that swell bourbon when I got home.

Although tough getting the horse back into the barn once out, this one day made up for my error of judgment, so instead of ruining, actually made my now 45 days of Lent and can’t wait until tomorrow as I’ll enjoy that Heaven’s Door bourbon ten times more! Thanks, Holy Spirit.

 Steve is an Oxford resident and received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Counseling) from Ole Miss.