Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Lent 2014

I must say that for me Lent has always been a "non-event". I didn't even know the English word for it until last year and it was certainly not on my agenda for 2014 as something I should plan for, never mind take action in any way.  The Hungarian word for it is Nagyböjt, literally meaning "big fast". It happens before Easter for 40 days. This pretty much summed up my knowledge on the matter. And this despite me having been a Christian for some 19 years now. No, I have no explanation to provide for this one, sorry.

So according to the Internet, Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter during which many Christians do not eat certain foods or do certain pleasurable activities as a way of remembering the suffering of Jesus Christ. It is based on
 the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by the Devil. Traditionally people focused more on prayer, fasting and alms giving during this period before celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.

As I said, this whole thing completely bypassed me until last year when someone posted a link on facebook about 40 acts of kindness. Those  40 days came and went, without me taking much notice of the daily emails. And back in another year I slumped.

This year the buzz on facebook started up again and it seemed that everybody and their dog was "giving up something for Lent". I even got asked "what are YOU giving up?" Well… I could give up chocolate (like about 60% of FB users) but since I am not that keen on chocolate to begin with, that would be no sacrifice really. I could give up alcohol, but I've already given that up a few weeks back for different reasons, so then again that wouldn't count. Exercise more? I don't see how that would be a sacrifice, although for sure that would help with self control and discipline… Eat less? Good luck to monitor that. Stop drinking fizzy drinks? Yeah… that would be a good idea, but again how would that help?

And then someone mentioned 40 acts of kindness again. And I realised I was still signed up for the emails. So there, I am going to do this for Lent. Small acts of kindness and generosity, giving up some of my time, money and self to reach out to others. Maybe it will make a small difference to someone. For sure it will make a difference to me. Accepting to step out of my comfort zone to connect with others is not easy. So here is my sacrifice for Lent 2014, allowing those uncomfortable and possibly painful steps to shape me into a better person.

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