Giving up chocolate. What’s the point? My relationship with chocolate is only ever on-again-off-again anyway. I’ve never given up anything for Lent, as the point of it has never really hit me. I suppose you could correlate, in some vague way, the feeling of oh-my-God-I-can’t-wait-till-Lent-is-over-so-I-can-eat-a-Mars-bar-again with the feeling of O-Lord-when-will-you-save-your-people? But it’s never meant much to me.
This year, however, I heard about something called 40acts. I didn’t look far into it, but I learned enough from my Facebook friends to know that it was a movement about doing something positive, useful and, above all, generous for the Lenten season. This inspired me, and I happened upon a Lent idea of my own.
My Lenten discipline this year will be to examine a charity a day. I’m getting suggestions from Facebook friends and Twitter followers (follow me @davidlrattigan) and then spending a few minutes each day reading about the work of one. At the end of each week, I’ll make a donation to one of them (I’m only three days in, and I’m already torn over my choice). At the end of my 40 days, who knows, I may have found one or two that I want to support regularly. That said, giving money is not my sole aim. I’m being exposed to new issues, stretching my awareness of the place of charity in the world and sharing the experience with others via social media.
Today is Friday, and my charity of the day, via @eatingwords, is Partners In Health. (Can I point out just how much discipline was required for me to observe that capitalized preposition, by the way?)
PIH is doing a magnificent work providing global healthcare by creating hospitals and community health systems in some of the poorest regions of the world. To make these sustainable, they are staffed largely by local professionals, not simply Western volunteers. Founder Dr Paul Farmer has revolutionized the way life-threatening illnesses such as AIDS and tuberculosis are being treated, despite the once-prevailing wisdom that it simply couldn’t be done. He explains a lot about his vision, which ties in with a concern to see and promote healthcare as a basic human right, in this short film from CBS’s 60 Minutes:
Visit the Partners In Health website here to find out more.