Sundays in Lent – 3rd Tuesday

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Read the Psalm for today’s readings and meditate on what it is saying and asking of you by way of compassion and kindness. I think that we all could use more of both in our lives, and this psalm is perfect for a reminder of that, and a way to include G-d in how you go about your day with more kindness and compassion.

Psalm 25

Remember your mercies, O Lord.

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior.

R. Remember your mercies, O Lord
.

Remember that your compassion, O LORD,
and your kindness are from of old.
In your kindness remember me,
because of your goodness, O LORD.

R. Remember your mercies, O Lord
.

Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
he teaches the humble his way.

R. Remember your mercies, O Lord.

The Words of My Mouth, The Thoughts of My Heart

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Some days I find something in each reading, and they mesh together and amaze me with their insight.

There’s a great book that I got for free when I first got my Kindle called Under the Tamarind Tree by John Harricharan. It has motivationals and pithy quotations. What I found that worked really well with this book was to randomly pick a page or a location as Kindle operates and read that section. I find that it gives me more message awareness by being random rather than reading the pages in the order they were written.

Today’s: “You meet people for two reasons, one is to learn something from them and the other is for them to learn something from you.”

I say this all the time about my friends on Tumblr. My eyes have been opened to many things. It doesn’t mean that we will agree on all the things and that we won’t argue or debate, but the amount that I learn is astounding. The inspiration I receive is energizing. The continued encouragement I receive is motivating. I’ve had people thank me for my small contributions. I would say that my two biggest influences, other than individual friends are the Daydverse and Tumblr and I will probably write a bit more about each later during these forty days.

In the beginning of this first week of Lent, I am still finding my sea-legs so to speak. I see things in everything and my spiritual compass is spinning like a top; it doesn’t know which end is up or why I suddenly end up in that misty, joyful place and want to share my journey with the world.

I’m still trying to form the feelings into words and so I repeat myself a lot. I talk about why I started attending Mass, why I’ve taken the forks in the road that I’ve taken, the influence of my best friend, which you will see in today’s passages.

Some highlights from the passages in The Living Gospel: Daily Devotions for Lent 2014 by Theresa Rickard, March 10:

“Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you…” – Psalm 19:15

“…when we respond with compassionate action to human need, we are responding to Christ.”

“…act with loving care…”

“…instead of refraining from buying a piece of clothing during Lent, we will buy a set of new clothing for a needy person…”

“…do one thing today to help a person in need.”

 

“Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you…”

I often carry more in my heart than I can express. Some things aren’t meant to be expressed through words, but through deed. However, as a writer, often words are all I have. I can only hope to reconcile the thoughts, the deeds and the words into what I truly want them to be. It takes practice. And I need plenty more of it.

“…when we respond with compassionate action to human need, we are responding to Christ.”

“…act with loving care…”

When I was in college, it was common practice to car pool and to have your passengers pay for your gas. When I finally had a car, I couldn’t wait to offer rides for the extra money. My father had one of the biggest shit-fits I have ever experienced over this. Why was I asking for gas money? Well, Dad, I need to put gas in the car and then drive the girl home. Isn’t her house along the route to ours? Yes. You’re passing her house anyway; why do you need extra gas for that? Hmm.

He didn’t say it would be compassionate for you to drive her because it’s on your way home anyway. He expressed why he thought I was wrong and suggested in his own way how I could (and should) be compassionate and kind on my own. He always went out of his way for people regardless of the cost to himself.

I never forgot that. It was one of the many lessons my father gave me. He was a quiet man with a funny streak a mile long. But he was EF Hutton. When he told you something, it was quiet, and you leaned in to hear it, and it required deeper thinking. It was important. And it was remembered.

Recently, as many of you know, my friend has been going through a trying time. We are usually in contact with the descriptor ‘often’ being a drastic understatement. When he realized this would change, he knew this would do ridiculously negative things to my anxiety, and wanted to reassure me and make sure that I would be okay, and he set up an art trade where I received a Starbucks card so when I needed a time out, I had one. This is only the most recent compassionate act he’s done for me, and he’s taught me much more.

“…instead of refraining from buying a piece of clothing during Lent, we will buy a set of new clothing for a needy person…”

This was one of my Lenten commitments. I gave up soda for Lent, and had already decided to take the money that I would have spent on soda (which is a lot more than you would think) and donate that to Random Acts. I will be doing that early next week. Random Acts is the epitome of compassion and kindness. They not only do things for others, they inspire others to do things. They are truly doing G-d’s work and if you’re looking for a worthy charity, I would recommend them heartily.

“…do one thing today to help a person in need.”

The cornerstone of Lent is prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Almsgiving is not only the giving of money. It is also the giving of time and talent. Sometimes that person in need is someone from Tumblr who comes to your inbox looking for comfort or a hug. Sometimes it is a phone call in the middle of the night. Sometimes it’s helping one of the elderly ladies to her car after Mass.

There are so many things that can be done that fit into your budget and lifestyle as well as changing for the better that Lent is helping us focus on. I can feel changes that remained with me from last Lent, and I know things will remain with me when this Lent is finished.

I will talk much more about my journey, my reflections on Lent and my friends who have encouraged and sustained me and who I try to do the same for. This Lent is especially meaningful for me. I’m writing so much about it that I know I’m repeating things I’ve already written and will again trying to get the right tone, and maybe at the end of forty days I’ll have something worth reading if I manage to put it all together. In the meantime, I will continue with these daily missives and hope they make some semblance of sense; not just for you, but also for me.

Random Acts for Misha

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I’ve known about Random Acts for several months now when my friend told me that this coming Fall I’d be participating in GISHWHES (pronounced gish-weeze), which stands for The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. It was started by actor Misha Collins and holds the world’s record for largest scavenger hunt.

Random Acts is his non-profit that raises money to do random acts for people that need a little extra something, and encourages people to pledge to do random acts of kindness for strangers.

On April Fool’s Day, the online fans of Misha Collins held a Mishapocalypse where hundreds of people on Tumblr changed their avatars to a particular one of Mr. Collins and then it kind of escalated to every single post that passed by my dash was some kind of gifset of Misha Collins – the more ridiculous, the better for the next twenty-four hours.

For his birthday, it was suggested that his fans do another Mishapocalypse. Instead, however, because the entire Tumblr being taken over did actually bother some people, something different was suggested.

Random Acts 4 Misha was born and began to ask people to ‘donate’ random acts of kindness to take place on August 20th and somehow document it with a birthday wish for Mr. Collins.

This is the link to the Tumblr: http://randomacts4misha.tumblr.com/

This is a link to someone who came up with 50 brilliant, low-cost ideas for random acts: http://trulyexpendable.tumblr.com/post/49703352342/random-acts

This is the link to the Random Acts organization: http://www.therandomact.org/

I’m not sure what I’ll be doing but I know that I’ll be doing something. I am an ardent fan of Misha Collins (and his wife, the PhD and author) and I have had many random acts done for me in a variety of ways that I would like to pay it back, or forward really. It’s not a trade, one for one, but it’s been so nice for me to have received them that I want to share that joy with others, and I know that Mr. Collins would really love it being done in his name.

Anyone interested, please remember to coordinate with the above Tumblr I’ve provided the link for. They are in contact with the Random Acts people and there are restrictions about raising money, so since it’s an official activity, they want to know who is doing what, especially in the case of money.

This is where I love this fandom; coming together and supporting the things that are important to all of us as a member of the world. It reaffirms my faith in humanity and the goodness of people.