Lent is a time for giving up some luxury that we find has obscured our vision of God. A luxury, by definition, is something that we don’t need. Sugar, social media, and television would all qualify. But there are some luxuries that masquerade as needs so well that we may never even notice them. Despair is one such luxury. The Christian mystic Thomas Merton calls is a “rotten luxury.” Indeed all luxuries that obscure our vision of God are rotten. Yet despair is particularly so. Because in our despair, we bask in the false glory that our view of things is ultimate. Despair depends on us believing that we can see the whole picture, that our calculation that there is no way out is absolutely dependable. This is the hubris of pride, the stroking of ego. And the only way out is through the courage of humility that comes by faith. I may not see a way through, but there is an author to this story who is far more creative than I could ever imagine.