chocolate and happiness

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even the wrapper on this chocolate is encouraging me to indulge myself!

I didn’t give up chocolate for Lent.  I didn’t truly “give up” anything, in fact.  And I’m OK with that – I think the focus I chose for this Lent has been a good and fruitful one.  But I chatted with some friends about fasting recently, and now I’m thinking hard about chocolate.

I eat chocolate every single day.  Currently, I have a large bag of Dove dark chocolates on my pantry shelf, where I can reach in and grab one or two or three for my early-afternoon, kids-are-napping treat.  I love Dove dark chocolate, but you know what?  It’s not that much fun anymore.  I’ve had it every day for so long, it just doesn’t do a whole lot for me anymore.

When we talked about fasting, one of my friends commented on the abundance that we live in, and stated, “I can indulge myself all the time.”  Another friend pointed out that it’s hard to really feast if you never fast.  Both of these thoughts ran through my mind today as I unwrapped my chocolate.  There I was indulging myself again, feasting just because I could – and because, as I always tell myself, I deserve it.

There’s always some reason that I deserve a piece (or two or three) of chocolate; today it was taking a sick kid to the doctor.  But seriously – what does it even mean to “deserve” a piece of chocolate?  Honestly, I’m not even going to explore it, because I think it’s false – or maybe not false, but pointless.  Not helpful.*

Because chocolate doesn’t bring me happiness.  When I think about the things that make me happy these days – the things that make my life brighter – chocolate really doesn’t belong on that list.  What is on that list?  Substantial visits with friends.  Cuddling with, reading to, or tickling my daughters.  Going out on dates with my husband.  But the chocolate … not so much.

So maybe it’s time to move my bag of chocolate to some hard-to-reach place, and leave it for sometime when I can share it with someone.  Maybe I should cut down on the Yuengling and Guinness too …or maybe I’ll save that for next Lent 😉

*No judgement here.  Are you currently in a phase of truly enjoying a daily piece of chocolate?  Does it bring a little joy to your day?  GO FOR IT!  That’s just not where I’m at right now.

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One thought on “chocolate and happiness

  1. I’ve been having similar thoughts! About indulgence, and also about using food for celebration (fancy food is the only means I know of for celebrating), and about using food for rest/relaxation. I just the other day realized that I treat our Lord’s Day meal and the resting that comes with it as an excuse to be a lazy indulgent bum, instead of an opportunity to honor our Lord. I want to work to make our celebrations real, unique, and better focused.

    …Ahem…on the subject of putting the chocolate out of reach…ahem…that’s never worked for me! Knowing that it’s there is too much for my self-discipline. But I’ve wondered: if we did have better times and reasons to enjoy treats together on a regular basis, wouldn’t the times I self-indulge begin to be less frequent? I dunno. But there’s hope!

    Like

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