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Friday, March 29, 2013

40 Days of Lenten Service - A Concluding Thought

Seeing as how it is Good Friday today, I thought it would be fitting to wait until today to give my thoughts and experiences for the entire 40 Days.

When I began this journey more than a month ago, I never imagined how hard it would be to do this. I mean, how hard would it be to find someone who needed a random act of kindness? I can understand if the day passes you by and you are not looking for something, but I was actively searching. Yes, it is VERY easy to do something when it involves money, but not so easy when you have a tight budget.

At the beginning, I felt some unseen force was steering me in the right directions. It was easy. The first week of this, I kept seeing opportunities everywhere. It was almost like something was pointing these out to me and saying, "Here is an example of what you need to do." I felt the joy of being able to bring a shred of light to some of the darkest depths. I even had excess time to be able to write about it.

As the days rolled along, I kept finding it harder and harder to find those in need. Granted, I always had the fallback option of gas, gift cards or Starbucks, but I wanted to do something more. I wanted to find things with more meaning. Is society just so geared to not showing any signs of weakness to the general public? Have we just given up?

This is why this adventure was so meaningful for me. I wanted to show that humanity has not given up. There are still a few of us out there willing to make sacrifices to benefit the greater good.

Granted, this country and its philanthropic roots are great about rallying around a single cause or disaster. We have seen this in Connecticut, New Orleans, Alabama and NY. But what about everyday? There are a lot of things we can do every single day.

This is why I feel ashamed when I say this task was difficult. It was difficult for me because of the time I have to spare everyday. My day is filled with carpool, cooking meals, kids school, work, family, etc. Is it selfish of me to think a random act of servitude will impede my daily schedule, so I shouldn't do it?

Here's the thing, if everyone of us take 10 - 15 minutes out of our busy lives to help someone less fortunate, imagine what the world would be like. Some people can do this with money, while others can do this by sharing a conversation with someone on the street. We constantly strive to pass on what we have learned to the next generation. We need to pass on the fact we all live in this world and EVERYONE deserves a chance to have peace and joy in our hearts.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Season of Service: 40 Days of Good Week 4

On to Week 4!

Day 22
So this is what it feels like to have done 21 days of service for Lent. It is definitely easier to give up sodas...like the kids. We had soccer tonight, so my service for the day is for them. This practice is not going to be the typical practice. I let the boys scrimmage the whole time. They had a blast and I think it might have helped them more.

Day 23
We leave for Jamaica tomorrow, so I am taking my lenten service to a new country. I don't know how this is going to work out, but it will be fun, mon! (see what I did there?) I know it is a bit cliche, but I helped an elderly lady cross a busy intersection. When I drove by, she had made it across one half of the street, but it seemed she was stuck in the middle. I pulled up to her and asked if I could help her. I stopped the traffic and helped her across. Good feeling and I hope the cars stopped saw it and passed on.

Day 24
We left DFW early this morning for Jamaica to meet D there, who was already here for a business trip. I thought my service for the travel day would include being nice to everyone at the airport. This is such a thankless job, they need to hear they are doing good every now and then. Well, started off great until I ran into our gate agent who was less than friendly. So, I decided she did not count and continued on.

Day 25
I think it is time to bring my Lenten Service Project to the people of Jamaica (LeBron reference). Again it was one of those things where being nice and a proper ambassador from the USA goes a long way. This might be the running theme of this vacation!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Season of Service: 40 Days of Good Week 3

So we begin the third week of lent. Amazing that I am not even half-way through. This is definitely a lot harder than I thought. I guess that is the point!

Day 15
Traveling to Plano today to visit my allergy doctor, who I have been seeing since 1985. I thought today would be a good day to do the Starbucks service again, but this time in Plano. As it turned out, a young mom and her 3 year old daughter were behind me. I paid for mine and then turned to them and said that I insisted on getting their order. She thanked me and proceeded to order. After doctoring my coffee, I overheard the mom telling her daughter about paying things forward and what it meant when her daughter asked her why she paid for the man behind her. This is how things begin.

Day 16
Today was a inner service day. I decided to spend 30 minutes of my morning praying and meditating. I prayed for my parents and their battles, my wife who has the burden of so many families, my niece who will be going to college in the fall, my best friend who had his second eye surgery, Bailey's Godfather (he knows why) and Snake's Godfather who turns 60.

Day 17
It was a real challenge to find something to do today. After letting things go and not trying to find something, I came across a lady in the grocery store reaching for some items. I happily got the item for her and then asked if she needed help with anything else. Sometimes it is the small things.

Day 18
I started off thinking my service project was to not yell at any refs today at soccer. That did not work. Instead I left three dollars at the gas station for whoever would find it.

Day 19
As you have noticed, my blog entries keep shrinking everyday. I guess when I started this project, I did not realize how long 40 days is really. This is tough, but it is not supposed to be easy. Sunday is a day of reflection and of peace. I pray for all the peace in the hearts of all people in all nations.

Day 20
So this is the day D left for Jamaica (boys and I head down Friday morning), so I decided to take about 10 dollar coins and every restaurant or store that had a drop box for donations, I would put that money in there.

Day 21
Final day of week 3 and a little less than halfway through. I decided today I was going back to my roots growing up of doing what my dad taught...Always stand when introduced, hold doors open, take your hat off, etc. I was going to show my boys what it is like. Good day.