As a runner, I love the preparation, the training, the process of being out there in the wind, rain, and cold. When I recall marathons, images of twenty-milers, water breaks, blisters, weather, and soul searching conversations come to mind. Life-long friendships began during long runs with the sharing of goals and dreams.
A few years ago, Father Kevin McCarthy asked me to give a talk to parents in St. Teresa’s GIFT (Growing in Faith Together) program about either Lent or Resurrection. It is no surprise that I chose Lent, and I was terrified. Who talks about Lent?
Memories from elementary school of giving up gum, candy, or pop – except on Sundays – came to mind. In high school, I gave up sweets and chocolate, with the hidden agenda of weight loss. But Lent is more than giving up sugar or Starbucks, it is making a sacrificial commitment to change, so we can better serve the Lord.
A few years ago, Tim and I began a Lenten ritual of daily donating. There’s a box ready for tomorrow, and for each of the forty days, we will “give” something. We’ve discovered the morning joy of thinking, “What am I going to give today?” along with wondering, “Where did all this stuff come from?”
Miraculously, this custom has enabled me to move beyond the concrete – a sweater, jacket, scarf. Instead, I pray, “How am I going to give of myself today? What am I going to offer a struggling student? How am I going to help a co-worker feel validated and valuable? What can I really give today?” It’s amazing – I discovered that I can share the Light of Christ and His everlasting love. Because He has given it to me.