Well, Lent started this week, and it’s always a fun thing to see what people are giving up. But what is Lent? Lent represents the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan. In our quest as Christians to be like Christ, we give up things that will help us to focus more on our relationship with Him as we get closer to Easter, the celebration of His ultimate love for us.
Well, I must admit. Lent couldn’t have been more timely for me this year. Reconnecting with God and restoring our relationship to pre-crazy times is something I have unfortunately been putting off. So I’m spending these days rebuilding good habits, kicking some bad habits, and in general, just reflecting on all the wonderful things for which I have to be thankful. Among my commitments are a fiscal fast–including not eating out unless I’m out of town, participating in an energy fast, and various one-week fasts, including a TV fast, a music fast, and a food fast.
Upon suggestion of a friend, though, I’ve added 40 Days of Random Acts of Kindness. With a Pay It Forward-esque spirit, this component is a selfishness/oblivion fast. It’s intentionally and deliberately being kind to people who aren’t in your immediate circle of family and friends. It’s paying attention to life outside your bubble of personal space and personal life dealings. Life gives us chances to pay attention to other people, but sometimes we are way too consumed to notice.
For example, last night, on my way home, there was a car with the hood let up sitting in a secluded area on the street near my subdivision. Now, I could have totally not paid attention to it, what with the good music that comes on during Midnight Storm and my affinity for singing along and thinking about the circus and thinking about what’s to come this weekend. Once I noticed the guy going to his trunk looking for something, a little voice told me to call 911. I hesitated. It’s in that hesitation that we sometimes miss an opportunity to be a blessing to someone–and we’ll never know it. I called 911 and spent 2 minutes telling them where the car was and why I think the guy needed help. Not at all a time sink. I’ll never know if he needed the help or not, but I’d like to think that a random act of kindness created some ripple of positivity in the universe.
Another example just happened about 30 minutes ago. I was walking across the street, and I just so happened to have my umbrella (which almost never happens). Another girl was walking through the parking garage, and when we got to the street, we both saw it was raining, but she didn’t have an umbrella. I could have acted like I didn’t notice and walk across the street without her. Or when I offered and she said no, it’s ok, I could have shrugged and gone on. But I insisted, and not only did I keep someone from getting wet, I met someone from another floor in my building.
Those are really small actions, but maybe made a big difference. I dunno. Don’t have to know. But hopefully, during Lent, I will become more in tune with that little voice that gently suggests we step outside of ourselves for just one moment to be an integral step in God’s design. Feel free to join me.
So… what are you sacrificing for Lent?