Simplicity During Lent

I was at Target the other day looking at coloring books for Olivia who is an avid colorer. There were about 100 options. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the choices but I still stood there staring at those books for about 10 minutes. Why? Because I couldn’t find one, single coloring book. Every book was a coloring book and something else. They included a pack of triangular crayons, or stickers, or paints and paintbrushes, or glow in the dark pens, or secret messages that could only be revealed if smeared with Cheeto-covered fingers. I couldn’t find a simple coloring book. All I wanted was a book full of pictures that lacked color. There was none.

I often get annoyed when things are more complicated then they need to be. I already feel like I’m constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off. I don’t need things that add to the crazy. I need more simple in my life.

As Lent begins, my theme for these 40 days in going to be simplicity. What is going on in my life that I think I “need” but don’t really. What seems as essential as water but maybe isn’t? What extraneous stuff is crowding out the thing I should be doing most? I want to turn down the noise in my life and listen more closely to what I should be listening for: God. I want to detach the sparkly pens, the pop-up pictures, and the decoder ring. I just want to be a coloring book. Plain, simple, blank and let God color in what God thinks I need.

Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft

Vanessa, a Notre Dame grad, loves the Catholic Worker Movement, Catholic education, and overbearing Mexican mothers, which she may or may not be. She lives in Austin with her husband and three daughters and is a freelance writer. You can find Vanessa at or follow Vanessa on Twitter @laluped.