Our church has always done Wednesday night dinners in Lent, with a short Bible study and communion. I like them, always have: Informal, friendly gatherings, usually including at least a couple of people I don't know extremely well. It's nice.
Babygirl and I went together tonight and enjoyed the discussion, and spoke of gratitude (and the lack thereof) on the way home, one of the more subtle themes of the evening.
And when we got home, we caugh up on a Lenten discipline designed as a fun way to raise money for UMCOR (the United Methodist Comittee on Relief), given to us at dinner.
March 2: "We waste food while others live without. Pay $.01 for each disposable cup and plate in your home."
March 3: "Most people in the world walk to get around. Pay $.50 for each vehicle you own."
March 4: "Heat is an expensive luxury. Pay $1 for your warm home."
March 6: " "I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet." Pay $.05 for each pair of shoes.
March 7: "Do something fun with friends or family and give $.10 as a thank offering for each one."
March 8: "Many have no bed or inadequate bedding. Give $.50 if you slept in a warm bed last night."
Well, we didn't have to sacrifice much on the paper plates and cups (although some friends had just stocked up and ended up ponying up $12 LOL). But I got nailed on the shoes. I was a little surprised, actually. I don't feel like I have a ton of shoes, but it turns out I have nearly 30 pairs! Like, how...???
I'm a walker, so I have two pairs of sneakers and two pairs of 'snow sneakers.' A pair of work boots for mission trips and a pair of 'apre ski' boots. Oh, and actual ski boots. Three pairs of flip flops, two pairs of hiking sandals, a pair of waterdogs, Eight pairs of cute flats in a variety of colors, mostly leftover from all of last years' wedding parties. One pair of dancing heels, also wedding shoes. And the rest are 'work shoes', nice enough to wear to work and comfortable enough to survive the day in. With the exception of one pair of sneakers and two new pair of work shoes, none are less that a year old and most are more than 4 years old. Several are hand-me-downs that Citygirl got tired of. There is a small crowd of shoes under my desk at work.
I grew up at the bottom of middle class, or at the top of poor depending on whether my dad was laid off or not at the moment. I had a pair of sneakers for gym and a pair of shoes for school. The first year I had a job and could buy myself two pairs of shoes for school stands out in my mind: I could CHOOSE which shoes I wanted to wear!
I'm generally not a hoarder, and not a collector. But today's Lenten discipline uncovered that memory. I didn't really 'go without' as a child, but I frequently had less than my friends did. I can fit nearly my entire work wardrobe into one large laundry basket, and I have a small dresser and the world's smallest closet. But apparently I have made up for some childhood insecurities with my shoe collection. I'm no Imelda Marcos, but hey, it's a start.
PS Our total for UMCOR so far is $7.05.