Reflecting on Lent, I contemplate sacrifice and I think about my parents. I think about how they sacrificed daily in order to give me a good foundation. They gave of their time and their resources. They did not solve my problems for me but they gave their time to help me work out challenges on my own. They did not shower me with money but taught me to work and to earn my own way, all the while sacrificing their resources to help fund my education.
They frequently gave of their good humor and wisdom as they led a rebellious, occasionally grumpy girl through all the physical, psychological and social changes everyone faces. Even when I would come home from school, mad at the world, using them as an outlet for all of that anger, they would stay sane and happy and simply point me to my room or outside to run around the house until I was in better spirits. They are great parents and like most, they never see what they did as sacrifice. It was just part of the joy of being a parent. I try to model my own parenting after theirs.
Writing about my parents reminds me of the sacrifices all parents make in having and raising a child. Being a strong, loving, guiding parent is the most challenging work one can do. Becoming a parent through adoption might be the epitome of sacrifice. The love and sacrifice of the birth mother (and/or parents) inspires a desire to seek the very best for the baby even if it means giving her to another family to raise. The love and sacrifice of the adoptive parents inspires them to raise a child to be a loving and compassionate adult in our world.
We see amazing examples of this all year long in our Pregnancy Support and Adoption Service program here at Catholic Social Services. Since July 2014, through our program, five infants have found loving, forever homes with adoptive parents; seven older children have been matched with adoptive parents; and more than 75 families have been prepared to adopt. What a sacrifice for those parents, but what an amazing gift. These are acts of love.
As we enter the Lenten season, many will be thinking about personal sacrifice and transformation. In addition, many parishes perform great public service during the season of Lent for those in need in the community. We at Catholic Social Services have been the fortunate beneficiaries of some of that sacrifice in the past as a number of parishes have partnered with us through special projects. We would like to thank our local parishes for thinking of us at this time of the year. We are here to support those in need, and hope to be a place where our local community members can connect with their friends and neighbors in need.
“Everything in life has its own time. There is time to celebrate and there is time to mourn. This is the time for reflection and transformation. Let us look within and change into what we ought to be.” — Aaron Saul
The writer is executive director of Catholic Social Services in Alaska. For more information about CSS, call 276-5590 or visit cssalaska.org.