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!
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.