For Catholics, 40 days of Lent or sacrifice began Wednesday. It’s a chance to give up on holy things, sank for penance for wrong doing, and create a new way of living. It means sacrificing for the greater good.
When I was younger, for Lent I would sacrifice things like candy, saying bad words, or being disrespectful to my parents. Of course, now that I'm older, I find I still have to give up those things because old habits die hard sometimes. Of course, now I eat a lot healthier, I excuse my foul language as long as there are no children present (I'm allowed, after all, swearing releases stress), and my respect for my parents has become instinctive probably due to my age. But, now I try to sacrifice things that are harder and better yet commit to more actions that leave me feeling like I've impacted the world in some small way. Perhaps like a ripple effect of kindness. What better way to demonstrate my feelings of rumors and real attempt to make a change, not only within myself but in the world.
So I thought I would share some things I've done during my 40 days of fasting and show what we can do MORE of during these days of sacrifice instead of just giving up sugar and sodas, let's create a ripple!
Sacrifice of Time
1. Give time at a local shelter serving meals.
2. Take time to clean out closets and drawers or items in your home that others might find useful and share them with those in need.
3. Visit your elderly neighbor even though you know she will want to talk for hours.
4. Spend the extra 5 minutes with your mother on the phone even though you've had an exhausting day.
5. Turn off your cell phone and have a real conversation with someone who needs your undivided attention.
6. Make dinner for your spouse even though you are tired and would rather buy a burger.
7. Spend more time meditating instead of talking about your problems, sometimes silence works miracles and answers come to questions without added effort.
8. Take time to do small favors for people, like buy someone lunch if you know they are busy, bring them a drink when you see they haven't left their workspace, or leave a post-it note that tells them they are doing a great job.
9. Play an extra game or two, read an extra story, or run outside with your kids even though you have a deadline.
10. Walk your neighbor's paper to their front door so that they don't have to come out in their robe (especially if you have that special neighbor who likes to streak from time to time).
Showing More Love
11. Give a hug to a stranger.
12. Deliver unexpected lunch or goodies to your elderly parents or spouse.
13. Foot massages for anyone is always a winner!
14. Make a list of friends that you don't get to see very often and call them to let them know that you care.
15. Find a local charity and pull people together to assist with their needs, WHATEVER THEY ARE!
16. Select a person you know is struggling and secretly send them notes of encouragement for 40 days.
17. Same as above but instead find 40 people that need encouragement and enlist others to help you send them encouraging notes for 40 days.
18. End every conversation with "I love you." If you already do that, add, “knowing you are a part of my life, makes my heart happy!"
19. Clean someone's home or yard as a surprise.
20. The person that you can't stand in the office, give them a small treat every day and help their own heart grow.
21. When you're inclined to gossip or speak negative about someone, repeat the following..."I love you and wish blessings for you."
There are so many more and I would be lying if I say that I select one or two and stay faithful throughout the 40 days. But, I have created some great habits doing some of these things, not always consistently, but still, habits nonetheless. The great thing is you don't have to be Catholic or be trying to make up for something you've done wrong. It doesn't even have to be Lent.
If you want to create a ripple, start with a pebble but leave no stone unturned!