Every year at this time of year, I make myself a few little promises.
A promise to try and be a better person; a promise to try and make some personal changes and a promise to be strong enough to keep my commitment over Lent.
Let me explain…
In mid February, beginning on Ash Wednesday, I give up something for Lent. I’ve done it for years. Truth be told, as a kid, I never really took the time to understand what that meant. I was raised in a pretty “religious” home (meaning, we went to church every Sunday…no matter what) so we sorta had to follow the rules. When the season of Lent came, we would always compare notes and fight over who gave up a harder “thing” and who had the bigger commitment.
Fast forward to my university days and I remember, vividly, a conversation I had with my grandmother one day.
“Nonna, I’m in such a bad mood…I gave up coffee for Lent and it’s killing me”…
“Really?”, she said. “When you don’t have your coffee, do you think about repentance?”.
Hmmm, good question Nonna. The answer was probably exactly what she thought.
“You know, every year, for Lent, I put a tiny little pebble in my shoe” she said, “and I leave it there for 40 days. Every time I feel it, I would think of the pain Jesus endured on the cross”.
Well, did I ever feel stupid.
What I realized was, giving up sugar or coffee or cookies was better for my waistline than it was for my soul.
Now, really fast forward to 2016. I have grown and matured (thank God!) over the years and my views on many things have changed…I would say almost all of them for the better. And my view on Lent has changed too.
I fully understand that, if you are Christian and this is your belief, giving up something that is valuable should bring you some sense of pain, which in turn should bring you some sense of repentance. But the truth is, sometimes that makes sense to me and sometimes it doesn’t. That realization made me delve deeper into this time of “spiritual awakening”. When I looked up the meaning of Lent, it also mentioned having a change of heart. I think that the change of heart, in religious terms, is supposed to come when you repent.
But, what if, through good deeds, you help others have a change of heart? What if, through good deeds, you make everyone you meet – Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists – have a change of heart? What if, through doing good, you restore people’s faith in humanity?
Wouldn’t that make this planet better?
This season is a season of change – spring always makes us feel a sense of renewal and makes us feel like it’s a time to shed our “skin” and start fresh. And we humans yearn for change. We are constantly looking around and searching for change – and in moments of honesty and good will we also want things within us to change.
So why not start with your heart? For those who are willing, a change of heart really isn’t that hard. Start with baby steps…make a conscious effort to do a few good things each day. They don’t have to be overwhelmingly time-consuming (like baking a cake), but they can be as simple as getting your co-worker a cup of coffee when you are getting yours. Yes, it takes a few minutes of contemplation and maybe a teeny bit of work, but it’s really not going to change the course of your day – but it has the incredible potential to vastly change the course of someone else’s.
After I returned from visiting my son (who is studying in Florida), I decided that, this year for Lent, I would make an attempt at this change of heart thing by Baking it Forward everyday throughout the 40 days of Lent (yes, I started late, but I am doubling up on some days to catch up!). Below are some pics I posted on my social media feed of some of the treats I have delivered…
Lemon ricotta cookies for my kids driving back to school…because, you know, they’re awesome!
Ferrero Rocher ice cream filled Nutella cupcakes for my Friend Silvio who is an incredible human being!
Pizza and brownies for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law for their long nights in the hospital with their mom…
For my “baby” brother who turned 40!!
For my friend Pat who is always there when I need an ear!
For the “smartest lady I know”, Cindy, who has an incredible story of survival and is an incredibly wonderful human!
The list goes on…and, I am not even close to being finished!
If you’re interested, follow me on my journey. If you are REALLY interested, let me know if and how you have tried to create a change of heart.
Let’s do this together…
Fifteen personal deliveries made so far…25 to go!
Won’t you join me??