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Lenten Samich

February 27, 2007

Okay, so it's Lent. I know this because a lot of the people I hang out with are giving things up (the most common thing is chocolate). That doesn't work for me. Maybe it's because I'm not a cradle-whatever; I came to this whole liturgical calendar thing comparatively recently. I don't recall even knowing anyone who did "fish on Friday" on purpose and it certainly wasn't until this most recent decade in my life that I ever heard anybody seriously say, "I'm giving up [chocolate] for Lent."

I guess that from the short time I began hearing serious "giving up" talk to the time that I actually became a participant, I got the impression that it was more like "Poor me. I have to go without [chocolate] for 40 days. I am really torturing myself to show what a good Christian I am. Look at me, look at what a good Christian I am."

Now, don't get me wrong. Everyone has the right to choose whatever Lenten discipline they deem appropriate for themselves. It is not my place to judge. In fact, I think that judging someone else's sacrifice is just seriously wrong. (The word heinous comes to mind, but it's not fitting well into a sentence right now.)

What I'm getting at is that instead of giving up, I choose to give to. If I, personally, give up, oh, say, chocolate*, what does that benefit other than my waistline? Heck, I know that on Easter morning I can get up and eat the whole darned 3-foot solid chocolate bunny if I want to. For me, it would just be postponing my chocolate intake, not giving it up. If, however, I give to one or more charitable organizations during this time, who knows how many will benefit?

Once again, I've joined in the 40 Days for Others KAL. Once again, I'll re-vamp it to a "CAL" - a CRAFT-along. At least 50% of the knitting, sewing, crocheting, whatever that I do during this Lenten season will be for the benefit of others. This year I've chosen the Head Start program and a local organization that works with autistic children.
*Note to readers: I don't particularly care for chocolate. This is just an example. No bunnies will be harmed on Easter morning at my house.
Sheesh. This isn't even where I was headed when I sat down to write this post. The point I had intended to make was about Charity Crafting.

I've been involved with a few social-ish groups that meet/met specifically to SnB while making items for charitable contribution. I'm glad to have found these gatherings, I've met good people, made some friends, been able to support or teach or entertain, you know - be SOCIAL.

What toasts my samich, though, is that at each group I've heard at least one person say, "Oh, it's just for charity. They won't notice if it (fill in the blank here - is wonky, is scratchy, is poorly constructed, etc.)."

Hold on, Nellie.

Do the recipients of charitable contributions NOT deserve a quality product? Is it just me, or is it supremely arrogant to imply that they should be thankful that they got anything at all? Of course they'll be thankful for what they get. There are those who may have to walk to school with no jacket in the winter for whom a warm knitted hat is a blessing. Those who, when they've grown and become (or not) more financially stable, will remember the time in their lives when a complete stranger made a hat for them (ostensibly) out of the goodness of their heart.

Sure, there are those that won't treat their hat with respect. They'll lose it two days after they receive it, they'll play keep away with it, they'll trade it for a chocolate bunny. Who's to say that if they lose it that it won't be found by someone who needs it more? That they won't make a lifelong friend during a game of keep-away? Who's to say that it won't be the only chocolate bunny they get during their entire childhood?

These things, ladies and gents, are what I call Pebbles In The Pond. We have no way of knowing what one little thing that we do or say will affect another now or later in their life. Good OR bad.

As for a decently made hat/scarf/wheelchair bag/preemie layette... who is it that you want to be happy when the charitable giving is done? Are you truly giving of yourself and your time and effort to make someone else's life a little bit better, or are you doing it to feel all righteous, so you can wear your perceived sacrifice of time and effort on your chest like a merit badge that you can point to any time you need someone to boost your ego?

Someone give me a hand and help me down off of this high-horse. I think I might've strained something.

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permalink 4 Comments:
At 3/04/2007 7:16 PM, Blogger Annie Babbled Back:  

I had that problem when I tried to give away the knit stuff from last year. "Oh! These are lovely! We should auction them off not give them away!" Sheesh. The stuff was lovely, and it was made to be worn by folks who needed it. Sheesh. I'm being a little more picky with my recipients this year.

At 3/08/2007 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous Babbled Back:  

Well yeah, for me the spirituality of creation is always about giving one's best -- especially when giving a gift. That's praying three times -- once in the creative process, once in attention to excellence, and once in generosity.

AND about the giving up thing -- I do think you can let go of luxuries during Lent to good purpose, if you do it to remind yourself that you don't need all that (chocolate, coffee, meat, shopping, television, fill in the blank ____) to be happy. Better still, though, to make a gift of it by putting aside your Starbuck's allowance to feed hungry people, or spending your TV time writing notes to your family, or reading something meaningful, or doing what ranting Tracy does...

Thanks for the thoughtful rant, T. Love your site! Kathleen

At 3/13/2007 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous Babbled Back:  

This has nothing to do with your post - sorry - but I saw your comment on Redshirt's blog and wanted to reply re: the IIII/IV debate on clocks. This used to drive me crazy until I realized/decided that they did it to balance the clock. The VIII that is mirrored on the other side has 4 characters so they bastardized the IV to make it even. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

At 12/06/2007 7:24 PM, Blogger Kyla Nicole Babbled Back:  

How did I miss this before?

Okay, so, right after I stood up and cheered for the amazing mother that I have, I sat down to read the comments on this post, and proceeded to spit tea all over my sofa, laughing my ass off at the thought of you *giving up coffee for 40 days* X]

That would be the most un-charitable thing ever done for the planet X]

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