Variations on Giving: a Friend’s Reflection on Lent


Disclaimer:   

Please know I do not allow Mindy to publish what she does below with any sense of comfort. In fact, I do so with fear and trembling, not wanting anyone to think, for a minute, that I believe the life Sara and I lead deserves Lenten comparison.   

Sara and I have chosen our path purposefully, but it, in fact, gives to us more that we give to others.  The sacrifice is reciprocal and then some, making our lives meaningful, challenging, sometimes even fun. 

 Please know the words below are those of a friend, a friend who has loved us for many years and may speak with a bit of bias—but a bias based in love.  As such, I am humbled and try to accept the gift with grace—acknowledging that though it may be too much, it’s a gift given from the heart.

 And the gift of love, the gift of grace, after all, is what the Lenten/Easter season is all about.  God only asks for our hearts and gives us grace in return.

 So thank you, my dear friend.  Thank you!

Dear Readers:
  
Kathy has taken the day off. 
  
While she finishes a myriad of tasks related to her move home to Kentucky, she let me talk her into publishing the following post I wrote about her and Sara.
 
This week Kathy is looking back and reevaluating the experience she and Sara have had in Haiti.  I hope this post will help them see how brave they’ve been.
  
I know I speak for many who have come to respect and admire these good people.  And though I speak about them in the context of Christianity, I believe good works are apparent in and of themselves, regardless of religion, creed or belief.
  
Kindest regards,
Mindy
 
_______________________________________________________________
 

As I reflect on Sara and Kathy and the lives they lead, I am reminded of the story in the Bible about the widow’s mite. “She gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford…she gave her all.” (Luke 21-4)

 The Jews had been instructed to give to the Temple and to the poor as part of their service to God. One day Jesus sat at the Temple and watched people putting money into the offering boxes. Some were rich and gave lots of money. Some gave money, but were unhappy about it. Then a poor woman, a widow, came up to the boxes.

The poor woman put two small coins in the offering box. The disciples with Jesus weren’t very impressed, but Jesus said this woman had given more than any other that day. How could that be? Jesus said it was because it was all she had.

 I reflect on the selflessness of my friends because they inspire me on this first day of Lent to “give my all.”

 I’m Episcopalian and have always observed Lent by giving up something for the 40 days or so that lead up to Easter and the celebration of the risen Lord. When I was a child, I was instructed not to give up something I disliked, like spinach, but to give up something I loved, like chocolate.

 The physical act of fasting is meant to remind us to allow the Spirit of God to reshape the way we think, act and live. I know this as an adult. As a child, it was just something we were expected to do.

 It was a practice that was meant to become a habit and, then, a life lesson.

 The apostle Paul explained the lesson very neatly in his letter to the Philippians:

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.  Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human.  It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges.  Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that – a crucifixion. (Philippians 2:5-8 – The Message)

 This is how Sara and Kathy live. They go from disaster to disaster, at great expense – professionally, emotionally, physically, psychologically – giving extravagantly what they can’t afford…giving their all.

 Now, I want Kathy to run this blog post and if she does, you must know that it’s because I’ve asked her to do it on my behalf. 

 Because I thank her and Sara for reminding me, in this season of Lent, to allow the Spirit of God to reshape the way I think, act and live not only by giving up something I love, but by giving my all.

16 thoughts on “Variations on Giving: a Friend’s Reflection on Lent

  1. Thank you for running this post, Kathy. I invite Kathy’s friends to share the love, as well. Who inspires you?

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    • Gosh, I’m blushing–all the way from Port-au-Prince! Thank you, Tori. I have to say though that your incredible writing about the simple love of a child or the trials and tribulations of motherhood, challenge me to be a better writer. I can’t keep up, my dear friend! You are brilliant! Big hugs to you, dear Tori!

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    • Oh, Tori, thank you for sharing! We need people like Kathy and Sara to keep shining their lights in the world. It sounds like you are one of those people, too.

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  2. Beautifully said. Part of what keeps me coming back to this blog is to absorb some of the experience of living without all the comforts and conveniences most of us take for granted, and to be reminded that there are others… many others… who don’t have it so good. Kathy, you and Sara are an inspiration. Truly.

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    • Ah, thanks, Terri! I think I’ve enjoyed living abroad for the same reasons. It helps me be more grateful when I see how so many others in the rest of the world struggle. But what’s really inspiring is to see how those folks function with so little. That will inspire and humble you like nothing else. Thanks, again for your kind comment, Terri!

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      • Terri: thank you for your response. Knowing Sara and Kathy has enriched my life. I am so grateful.

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  3. @Mindy: I’m an Episcopalian, too, and I agree. And after all, there is the Epistle of James (much as Martin Luther disliked it), which is big on works as the fruit of faith (and very hard on the rich, which may be part of why I like it). I’ve always appreciated the passage from James that inspired a Peanuts cartoon, the one about if you tell someone cold and hungry to be of good cheer, stay warm, and eat well without giving them the means to do that, you have done nothing.

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  4. I have a friend who spends Christmas day handing out envelopes of cash to people who are homeless downtown. Just knowing she does that enriches my life. That’s how Sara and Kathy enrich my life, too. I’m glad you read the post and it’s very nice to hear from a fellow Episcopalian!

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