Giving Up

blogentry_michaelEvery year, we are given the opportunity through the Lenten season to give up something in order to grow closer to Jesus Christ and understand what he gave up for us. Growing up, it was always something very food related that was suggested we give up. Many suggestions of candy or sodas were thrown out there. Sometimes a suggestion of abstaining from red meat for the whole duration of Lent was put forth. As a kid, I sort of understood why we would do that but I don’t think it really sank in. I mean how can you really understand the deep meaning of why we do what we do during the Lenten season.

Fast forward to the past few years and there’s a very different perspective that I now have. For the past few years instead of focusing on something that is food related or depriving myself in that regard I have focused on trying to get rid of an undesirable aspect of myself. Last year I tried to refrain from getting angry. This year, my focus is to stop being impatient.

The reason why I chose to sacrifice my impatience is because even though most people would regard me as a patient person, I am critical of myself in that area. I think Krista sees it all the time because I have this really bad habit of getting impatient when I’m driving. I see a lot of people on the street cutting me off or really doing some puzzling things on the road. I actually think South Bend is about the worst place I’ve seen drivers but I’m open to hearing other people’s arguments about their own cities. In any case, I have had times where I really get impatient and have made comments to myself about it. When you look at it though, what does that really get you? Higher blood pressure? Some egotistical satisfaction that you’re better than the other person because you can drive better than they can? It really nets you nothing at all and this is one aspect I want to work on.

Another big reason why I wanted to focus on this is because even with KristaRose being sick sometimes I can still be impatient. I can tell you that it is very hard sometimes to take care of her. There are moments where she is in pain and you just quite don’t know what to do. Sometimes I have difficulty understanding what she needs because the pain would be in her neck or shoulders or even her mouth and I literally can’t understand her. Sometimes she needs to be repositioned on the bed and I can’t interpret how she wants to be moved because she literally can’t move any part of her body to indicate how she wants to be moved. It is in those situations that I want to be better. I want to make sure that I am always ready to spend up to 30 minutes or more to understand exactly what she needs. I want to make sure I do a better job at interpreting. Granted I think I do a pretty good job right now but as I said before I can always improve.

After attending Ash Wednesday mass yesterday, Father Rocca told us that we should be focusing on one thing this Lenten season. Too often we try to focus on so many different improvements or sacrifices that we lose sight of why we are doing this. We should be focusing on one aspect of almsgiving. We should focus on one aspect of prayer. We should focus on one aspect of fasting. I think this is a great message and a good way to really focus on your relationship with Christ. But this is something we should continually do every single day of every single year. We should always be focused on doing good and making this world a better place. We should strive to work on a bad aspect of our lives so that we can be closer to Christ. We should focus on prayer in our unique way whether that is meditating for sometime during the day or saying the same prayer when you wake up or before you go to bed.

So for this year, even if you aren’t Catholic or Christian, it would be good to really take a look at your life and see what is the one thing that you can give up that would make you a better person. You should take a look every month and try to work on that. Certainly if everyone could do that, this world would be a better place.

The Lermz

Michael Lerma graduated the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with an Information Technology Management degree. He is currently a senior Project Manager with the Nielsen Company.

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