OK, so far we’ve talked a lot about giving things up in Lent. But it is also a season where we take new things on, such as practicing purposeful acts of kindness—often behind the scenes and without recognition or tangible reward. Usually, “taking on” and “giving up” go hand in hand; if we are honestly going to be able to take on some new activity or responsibility, our lives are often so busy that we’ll have to give something else up to realistically be able to make the time and mental space to actually do it.
Here are a few possible suggestions of small things we can do with great love that make such a huge difference in the world (and in the lives of the people we hold dear). Pick one that you can do today.
Power down the laptop and cell phone, sit down, and write a real letter instead. (Not many of us save emails. But real letters sent via snail mail… there is still something special about those that makes them worth saving and treasuring, isn’t there? )
Help out around the home in ways that surprise and delight.
If you know someone who is about to receive another heavy snowfall in an area that has already received historic amounts of snow, let them know you are thinking of them today. A lot of them are getting awfully tired of winter!
Do something “frivolous” that you thoroughly enjoy. Personally (and I’m being completely serious about this), I think a great Lenten discipline would be to pet the cat for 15 minutes a day. Other ideas might be to do a drawing, write a poem, or sit back, relax, and listen to your very favorite tuneage.
For those of you who live in areas without snow, go for a walk with a family member or friend and consider picking up litter along the way.
Find creative ways to leave a message for those you love (my wife sometimes writes in lipstick on the bathroom mirror—fun!)