So how did that Lent stuff work out?

Before Lent began, I committed to two behavior changes: one to curb a vice, the other to cultivate a virtue.  In brief:

  1. I stopped taking advantage of the free food opportunities near my office in the hopes that I could stop feeling like I was taking advantage of people and feeling pleasure in pride in getting one over on someone
  2. I tried to overhaul the way I donated to charity in order to be more responsive to the people around me, instead just kicking in sporadically to malaria nets. (I added this one mid-way through)

Let’s take them in the opposite order:

I don’t think the iPhone countdown I rigged up was very helpful (when I got an ‘ask’ of any kind, I tallied it and every 5 ‘asks’ I donated to Against Malaria).  I think I probably was still missing ‘asks’ and didn’t feel anything new.  So I’m going to treat this as an inconclusive pilot I can return to in the future.

Here’s the new plan.  The largest discretionary budget I have on Mint is ‘Entertainment’ (assuming I exclude the ‘Education’ budget for ASL lessons and my NYT and New Yorker subscriptions).  For April and May, I’m going to make a matching donation for whatever my ‘Entertainment’ spending was (the expenses in that category are usually movies, theatre, and roller derby tickets).  This way I can bump up my contribution while still keeping it tied to what I can afford.  This doesn’t help with the making-charity-less-abstract-and-distant problem, but I have a different idea on that front that I’ll let you know about after I give it a go.

The free food fast is also technically inconclusive, I guess, but I think it was helpful.  As I mentioned last year in my Maundy Thursday post, I need to work on joyfully and accepting the generosity of others, and, if nothing else, this discipline was a reminder every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday that this kind of uncharity is a besetting sin of mine.

I think and hope it made me a little more sensitive to the ways I fail on this, so it would be worth it for that alone.  And, now, presumably, I’ll still be reminded on Wednesdays and Fridays when I go to the free wine and cheese tastings.  (Sadly, the cupcakes on Tuesdays promotion was cancelled during Lent).  Fixing this tendency will take more than 40 days.

About Leah Libresco

Leah Anthony Libresco graduated from Yale in 2011. She works as a statistician for a school in Washington D.C. by day, and by night writes for Patheos about theology, philosophy, and math at www.patheos.com/blogs/unequallyyoked. She was received into the Catholic Church in November 2012."

  • http://prodigalnomore.wordpress.com The Ubiquitous

    Fast with a smile in part means: When considering private fasts, never say no to a mitzvah.


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