Sea anemone

Calculated Acts of Kindness — CAOK — is a Lenten themed project I’ve led for several years. The idea is to spend the 40-plus days of lent in reflection, strengthening your faith through helping others.

This help may come in a note of encouragement, time volunteered at the food bank, buying a stranger lunch or simply paying someone a compliment. The intention of CAOK is to stretch your own comfort by being of service to others, and to do so humbly.

That humble part make this a bit tricky. I encourage you to share your ideas and acts here as a way of encouraging and inspiring others to participate. If you’d like to see what’s been done in the past, there are photo galleries and plenty of posts.

I look forward to this challenge each year because so many people reach out. They send the love letter they’ve been thinking of writing. They buy bus tickets and hand them out at the stop before work. They anonymously send flowers to the woman in the office going through a divorce. You wouldn’t believe how many of these emails I’ve received. It is a powerful project to be a part of.

So! If you are interested — now’s the time. Let’s do what they say can’t be done. Let’s make our homes, communities and world a bit brighter by truly being kind.

Saguaro bloom week

A Franciscan Blessing:

May God bless you with discomfort. Discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen

May God bless you with anger. Anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen

May God bless you with tears. Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. Amen

May God bless you with foolishness. Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen

And the blessing of God, who creates, redeems and sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and forever more. Amen