and let me tell you, the coffee almost killed me. i had slowly formed an intense addiction over the few months, and quitting cold turkey was no easy task. after day 10, though, i was fine - and the first time i succumbed to temptation, i almost spit the coffee out, apparently, i don't even have a taste for java anymore.
but the physical sacrifice was nothing compared to the spiritual reflection.
see, i had a pretty harsh encounter with charity just a few days before lent actually began. you can read about that here. but all said, it changed me. i have always been an advocate of hands up, not hand outs, but sometimes we fall into routines and stop questioning our motives for our actions.
|how'd you like to deliver a baby in this room?|
there is hope. and over these past 40 days i have met people - dominican and not - who are working to break cycles of poverty and not just put band-aids on deep wounds. i've visited projects that are teaching skills, educating in values and changing lives. i mean, sure, i've seen the bad ones, too - the "here come take what we have because we have more than you" mentality - but i've chosen to focus on the positive.
there are ways to give and support without knocking down and moving on. and that inspires me.
and while i think it's best to "teach people to fish" than to "give them a fish", i still believe there's a place for the 50 pesos on the street corner to the blind man and his son, or the extra food to the shoe-shine boy in the city. there is no cut and dry, black and white answer to how to end poverty, how to break the cycle and tilt the playing field so that it's a little more level.
lent is supposed to be a time of sacrifice and reflection, a time of introspection and prayer. i never ever imagined it would be as fruitful as it has been. time in the desert can bring the best rewards. there are some plans in the making to empower that i'll share with you all soon enough (still in the planning stages).
this lenten season, i'm reflecting on how to give without creating dependency; how to give with a faithful and servant's heart and how to let go once i give material things away. i come in contact daily with people who have way less than me, who are hungry and tired and un-bathed. join me as i begin to work through it. check out all of the posts under the label "lenten reflection"