Giving Up Despair for Lent

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair…

II Corinthians 4:8

Dear friends,

In Kevin Sullivan’s adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, Anne Shirley asks Marilla Cuthbert whether she can imagine being “in the depths of despair,” and Marilla replies that “To despair is to turn one’s back on God.”

I don’t agree with Marilla, because if she’s right, then I have probably turned my back on God numerous times just this past month. (It’s February, okay?)

What about you? Do you ever just feel ready to give up? Maybe not ready to give up, but there have been so many times in the past few covid years when I have found myself wallowing in despair, and I don’t think I’m alone.

It’s easy to get stuck on all the things that are wrong and broken in our world – or in our homes, our health, our finances, our lives, whatever. And I have noticed myself doing that more and more over the past few months.

In the past, I’ve given up Facebook for Lent, and that was helpful, and I recommend it, but a few weeks or so ago I was lying in bed, probably despairing about something, and decided to give up despair for Lent.

I don’t know exactly how that works, but I do know it’s not about being Pollyanna. It’s just about not being… whatever the opposite of Pollyanna is.

If that resonates with you, I’d like to invite you to join me in giving up despair for Lent. When you start to feel as if nothing is every going to get better, maybe look for something small and subtle you can do to make something better. And if you’re feeling despair about something that’s beyond your control, maybe pray.

Just for Lent. You can have your despair back after Easter Sunday.

You know. If you still want it.


Rev. David M. Schell, pastor