Giving Is As Important As Giving Up

For those of us who are Catholics, today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of the Catholic Lenten season that ends with Easter.  Most people associate Lent with the idea of giving up something, or making some sacrifice.  Typical “sacrifices” include giving up chocolates, ice-cream, new shoes, or some other self-indulgent thing.  But few of us remember that there are two sides to this coin, and that is to GIVE.  As part of the Lenten Program, Caritas (a Catholic charitable organisation active around the world) asks us to give through its Project Compassion program.  The season lasts six weeks and each week we are told a story of someone from a different part of the world: Nepal, Democratic Replublic of Congo, Bolivia, Samoa, Vietnam (a beautiful country which I visited only last November), and closer to home, Western Sydney.

I must admit, every year, as I have got older, I blindly put my money into either the Project Compassion collection box or in the weekly envelopes without giving too much thought to what I was doing.  But today, the homily our priest gave was all about giving and sharing.  He told a story of a little boy he met recently in South Africa who was looking through the garbage for food.  So he bought the boy some bread and the boy immediately looked for his friend to share his food with.  What would you have done if you had been that hungry little boy?  What would I have done?  Probably devoured it all in one mouthful?  Would you have shared?  What would you have done if you had been the passer-by seeing the little boy digging through trash for food?

Giving up something can mean a lot of things: giving up smoking, giving up loud music, giving up sweets – sorry to burst anyone’s bubble here but these are all things that are BAD for you and should be given up or taken in moderation regardless of your religion or religious seasons.  So for a change, I am proposing that rather than focusing ONLY on the act of giving up something, how about we focus on giving or sharing something instead?  Here are some examples:

Give up Give
Office gossip Kind smile and a chat
Judging/bitchiness/sarcastic remarks Compliments
1 cup of coffee/eating out a week Donate the money to charity
2 hours of TV a week Quality time with family
Criticism Encouragement

Easy, right?  I’m sure there are many other examples you can think of as well and please do share and let me know of your suggestions.  And let us not do this only till Easter…let’s try and do this all year ’round because, as I mentioned in my previous post Kind Words Are the Mightiest Sword, a small gesture and change on your part could have a huge impact on someone else in your life, so let’s make it a good one! 🙂

Toodles! xox

 

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5 thoughts on “Giving Is As Important As Giving Up

  1. Christine

    I’ve been seeing all my friends listing what they are giving up on their facebook statuses. I think the hardest part isn’t giving something up, but choosing to give up something that is significant to you. For me, I think that would be twitter #trueconfession.

    And I love your point about giving something back. Not sure why that gets skipped more than making a sacrifice.

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  2. Lou

    Another lovely post and very throught provoking. Although being Catholic myself I never really put too much thought into Lent. I always choose to give up some aspect of food, alcohol etc, as you say these are things that are bad for us anyway but give a little bit happiness (in my case chocoloate!) but this year I have found it to be particulary difficult to find something to give up that actually means something. Maybe this year for lent I will try to be less consumed in myself and do more for others and give back like you have said. I totally agree a litte gesture sometimes can go along way and make someone smile!

    xx

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  3. Laura Vivoni

    Valerie, this is a very touching subject. I am also Catholic but don’t usually follow Lent or any other celebration, but your post has encouraged me to Give. I am always thinking about ways that I can give and that story about the little boy looking for food in the garbage and then sharing his food with his friend is very inspiring. It inspires me too.
    Thanks for sharing!

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