For many years, I used to "give things up" during Lent. I grew up in a home where my parents usually gave up alcoholic beverages and married into a family that typically gave up dessert (except on Sundays when it was OK to have cake) in preparation of Easter. I just followed without thinking critically about my practices. One day, a sermon changed this and I stopped giving things up and started consciously giving more during this season of preparation. Some extra change shared here or a little extra into the envelope. Paying for the next person's coffee. The gift of happiness or even a goodie for someone.
Last night, I walked out of the university where I work as an adjunct invigorated as always by the students, their energy and their questions. I taught all day, attended CSE meetings, pondered APPR, mentored teachers, taught grad school, modeled how to make any text a readers theater, and then talked to students. I should have been tired...but I wasn't. In the past, teachers have asked how I find the energy to teach grad school at night, and I really didn't have an answer. Through some miracle that happens every week, I seem to get energized by giving more.
While I might still go out of my way to donate a bit more during this season (eg. change into the March of Dimes container), giving happens every day all year through. Maybe the message all along has been...as it should be...that giving up and giving more are both ways to reflect and ultimately get more!