Fat Tuesday

The downside of official holy days is that the days before them tend to become unholy days. Hence, for some, the vows of faithfulness spoken at a marriage ceremony are preceded by a bachelor party in which the devoted-spouse-to-be gets drunk or stoned, watches porn, takes in a lap dance, and maybe even has sex with a stranger.

Hence, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent, a time of introspection and penance, is preceded for many by days of extreme indulgence. Still, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, and Carnival aren’t the real issue. It’s that humans are so damnably human.

Fat Tuesday gets its name from the tradition of finishing off left-over meats and sweets right before the coming season of self-restraint. And truthfully, anyone can enjoy a big slice of pie or a couple of beers and not regret it. But an orgy of eating? A marathon of drinking? Maybe not.

The key to enjoying an indulgence, after all, is novelty, not extremity. Substance and behavior addicts don’t enjoy their binges, they loathe them—and themselves. The don’t experience joy, but the absence of it. The real problem with “going a little (i.e. a lot) crazy” is the sheer desperation of it. The absence of true joy. Which is why…

You can tell more about the state of a person’s heart on Fat Tuesday than you can on Ash Wednesday.

A friend’s fifteen-year marriage to a charming boy-man fell apart when she found out he’d been cheating on her for years. Then she learned he’d cheated on her the entire week leading up to their wedding. Why? He was “getting it out of (his) system,” he said. But the truth is, he’s clinically depressed, and that isn’t something you get “out of your system” with a sham marriage or extramarital affairs.

If you can’t be joyful without “going a little crazy,” you’ve never experienced real joy.

And real joy is what you were created for.

“When you live as I lead you, my heart becomes your home, just as I have lived as my Father leads me, and have made his heart my home. I’m telling you this so that my joy will live in you. Yes, your joy will be complete.” ~John 15:10-11 (paraphrase)

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Culture, For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Fat Tuesday

  1. “Substance and behavior addicts don’t enjoy their binges, they loathe them—and themselves.” This is true. I speak from PAST experience – thank God. (He delivered me thirty-plus years ago.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. TEP336 says:

    Really? After reading the entire post, that’s all you got? If I might ask, how do you make the distinction? The God of the New Testament is the exact same as that of the Old Testament.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is such an insightful post…with ideas we have been pondering but not saying. Thank you for putting this into a cohesive piece!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “If you can’t be joyful without “going a little crazy,” you’ve never experienced real joy.” Truth! Tepid and destructive substitutes for our longing for joy are all around us. Once we experience the real thing, we can always spot the fake. Thank you for the clear light of wisdom that you bring so often to the things of ultimate concern!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Great perspective.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Amen! So true. C. S. Lewis writes of the law of diminishing returns with substance use which quickly becomes abuse. That one incredibly fun day becomes something to keep drinking/partying for and yet the more partying done, the farther away that one fun day seems to become until you’re in a prison of self-loathing and even addiction. Yuck.

    Thank the Lord He rescued me and gave me joy that isn’t found in what I do or do not eat, drink, or indulge in. Joy without drugs. Joy without sweets. Joy in Him alone…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great read, Mitch! I love your viewpoint. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I know that you are a humourist yourself but I often think that humour and “fun”
    can be a poor person’s joy.
    The best kind of laughter is one that comes from joy. Have you ever laughed because the sky was beautiful? I have. It something I’ve found myself doing since being a Christian. The good thing about joy is that it creates zero casualties.
    Humour and fun often come at either someone else’s expense or your own.
    On advertisements in the U.K. against gambling addictions they say “When the fun stops stop” but by the time you have got to that place it is already too late, it’s a stronghold that can be impossible to break without faith.

    I often wonder, did Jesus laugh? I’m sure if he did it would be out of joy rather than humour. I can imagine him laughing the way we laugh when we see a child laughing, we are sharing the joy of innocence, the joy of being alive and the joy of being human and sharing an experience together, the joy of friendship and love.
    He wouldn’t have laughed if one of the Apostles fell over, he would be shocked and rush over to help them. He wouldn’t roll His eyes if someone made an obvious error, he would guide them.
    He did use irony though but it was used to expose vanity and folly and it was pointed against those who claimed to be righteous.
    Joy builds people up whereas humour can knock people down.

    I would like to know your thoughts on this subject Mitch. What is Godly humour and what is sinful?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      Oh, I think you have the essence of it. God created laughter, and the ability to see things as funny, just as surely as he created happiness and hope. But anything can be corrupted–we can be happy at another’s failure, and hope to advance ourselves because of it. Humor is the same. It’s an expression of what we’re thinking and feeling, just as happiness and hope are. Laughter can hurt, and it can heal. It can also teach and illustrate (“It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”). Yes, I suspect Jesus laughed often and wholeheartedly.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes I agree!
        It can wound or it can be salve to a wound!
        It’s all about love isn’t it.

        “but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        Indeed. Though sometimes it can sting a little, too. Medicines are like that.

        Like

      • A big coincidence that I have been studying Ephesians today.
        Paul talks about edifying each other, no corrupt communication, no fornication, uncleanness and covetousness be named amoung you as becometh saints.
        Neither filthiness nor foolish talking nor jesting, walk circumspectly not as fools but as wise.
        And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit..

        Liked by 1 person

      • Syncronicity abounds! Also just read this..

        “Much of our humour trades on paradox, exposing the incongruous and unexpected occurrences that permeate our daily existence. In its various guises, humour often leads us to a more authentic encounter with truth. G. K. Chesterton wrote that when a person laughs, it is “as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself.”

        Sound familiar? Chesterton was making the point that Christian faith, just like humour, is grounded in profound paradox. Beneath the visible realities of our mortal world lies a divine surprise: “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints” (Colossians 1:26).”

        Liked by 1 person

      • mitchteemley says:

        There’s always something new to learn from Chesterton!

        Liked by 2 people

      • TEP336 says:

        Still slowly making my way through “Everlasting Man”, though I have to take it the way I have been with “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis, when I can spare more than five minutes to sit down, read, and then go slam my head in a door. 😂 For their very own reasons, both of those books hit me on such profound levels, I feel as if slamming my head in a door (not literally, mind you) is the only way I can process.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. grAnnie Roo says:

    I can’t recall the Lenten traditions explained or approached so well. At least not without some heated discussion 😉 Oh wait, that gauntlet’s already been thrown. =D Another great insightful post, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: In Observance of Lent: Fat Tuesday — Mitch Teemley – Cheryl L. Bradley

  11. Thank you, Mitch! Expression of the heart, plainly written 🙂 Sharing with appreciation!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great thoughts. I think there is an additional problem with many of our holy days, that many of them become heavily secularized: Think of Christmas, Easter to some extent, and the fact that some of our most popular holidays are saint’s-day feasts where we forget about the Christian basis of the holiday’s name (St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day).
    May God help us keep our eyes on Him every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. History has confirmed that Man has been successful in making all celebrations to be what he wants and not what he needs.

    Liked by 1 person

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