True confessions time: I may have bitten off more than I can chew for Lent (and we aren't even a week in!). I thought it would be easy to find places for us to send cards, love notes, prayers in bulk. I was wrong. For good reasons, I was wrong.
I had intended to start our project by sending love to our troops stationed overseas. Not having served or having anyone in service in our family, I had not considered that the military or the Archdiocese of the Military would not release addresses freely. Quite prudently, they must protect the safety of our men and women serving overseas. They had some great suggestions in lieu of my initial desires, though. One was to find a VA Hospital to work with, and another was to contact a local family with members serving overseas. My friend, Jennifer, also suggested working with the Wounded Warriors project. All excellent suggestions!
My next goal was to send notes and pictures to children who are in the hospital with long-term or terminal illnesses. While there is not the same safety concern, and we are not asking for names because I know full well that is crossing a boundary with minors for certain, there is the concern of deciding who would get noticed and who would not. We would never want to leave a child out, and without having a good way of knowing how many patients were on a floor or in a ward, it was just too daunting a project. One suggestion since my initial inquiry is to work with a local charity who grants wishes or supports families with sick children, and that is exactly what we will be doing.
Once I get some concrete information about where to mail our notes and artwork (because what is a day at Casa McCormick without artwork?), I will share them on the blog as much as I can.
All these doors closing on me made me wonder if I was barking up the wrong tree, or doing something that perhaps God didn't want me to be doing over Lent. Then Patty from A Modern Grace left me an note quoting Blessed Mother Teresa, and it hit me. I was just going about it all the wrong way. I was thinking too abstract, too big, too global. I should have turned to my Saint Sister a lot sooner. Once I did, the answer was right in front of me, and shared in the theme of the responses I had been getting. Go local.
Blessed Mother Teresa always encouraged us to start at home, to begin in our own communities. She encouraged us to create a ripple effect of love that would then spread out across the ocean - not because we went across the ocean, but because we would, by our love to those near us, inspire them to love, and they would inspire others, and so on. That is now what the focus of our Lenten Love Dare will be. Local. Loving those at home. Loving those God puts in our path in a bold way. Loving without fear.
If you are looking for some concrete examples, here are a handful or two or three:
- Call a long lost friend.
- Apologize to someone who you have wronged, but never owned up to hurting.
- Send a note of encouragement to a friend.
- Thank someone who has made your life easier.
- Send your mom some flowers.
- Tell your parents what they mean to you.
- Write each of your children a note about your love for them.
- Write a note of forgiveness to someone who has hurt you, whether they have made amends or not. Leave it at the foot of the cross.
- Invite a relative or friend who is struggling to church and a meal.
- Offer a Holy Hour for someone and let them know you are praying for them.
- If you know someone serving overseas, put together a care package for them.
- If you know of a family experiencing serious illness, reach out to them and see what they might need.
- If you know of a family in the midst of grief, make an effort to spend some time with them.
- If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, say a prayer to St. Jude for them and send a special intention to be placed at the altar at the National Shrine of St. Jude
- If you know someone who is incarcerated, send them a note of encouragement and a prayer card.
There are so many other ways for us to shower our communities with the love of God. This may be one of those times where instead of thinking big, it is more effective to think small and constant. Please join us in this Lenten Love Dare, and let us know how you are working on loving better. Feel free to use the image below in your posts and use the tag #PPDlovedare on social media. Let's get out there and love 'em like Jesus!
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