My mother used to dedicate an hour a week to teaching antsy 9-year-olds in the basement of a church rectory.
Trying to convince them that this was the most important year in their spiritual life. Most of them were counting down the minutes, waiting to make a trip to the store for a chocolate frosted donut. Some were trying not to doze off. Few sat in rapture of the message.
Each year, she forced disinterested kids to do homework. Preparing them to receive First Holy Communion in the spring. Few were excited, but mostly at the prospect of eating something in church. It was a mystery to them, holding their interest for a short span of time.
I know because I used to be one of those kids. Long before I had my mother as a CCD teacher every Sunday at eight-thirty in the morning, she made my sister and I choose something to do for Lent.
We didn’t give up anything. Kids in her classes would offer to give up potato chips or Root Beer.
“Is that your favorite soda?” she’d ask.
“No,” the child would say. “I like Coke.”
And she’d sigh, frustrated that they were missing the whole point.
“I want you to do something for Lent,” she’d tell us. “Don’t give up something. Do an act of service.”
She’s big on people who do things. Her love language is acts of service. Buy her a bouquet of flowers and she’ll smile and nod, thankful, but if you offer to make her dinner she’ll love you forever.
I actually almost forgot about Lent entirely until I saw the blackened ash staining foreheads as I wandered my local Barnes & Noble on Wednesday afternoon. On the way home, I realized I needed to do something. Not sure what, but something.
I throw myself in ten different directions, it seems, but do any of them really stick? Lent’s about being less selfish and experiencing personal growth while helping others. What, I wondered, could I do to help others?
Sometimes, people need a reminder that they are loved. Unconditionally. That’s why, every day of Lent I’m going to spread a little anonymous love. I don’t want to say too much more because it’s anonymous.
What are you going to give? How will you grow?