— Easy, thoughtful gifting for businesses that care —

Abstinence … makes the heart grow fonder

Absinence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder   In any other year, the approach of Easter Sunday would mean lots of planning.  Of family gathering, of meals to be eaten with those we love, and journeys to meet distant friends. In preparation we organise the food, and enough plates and chairs for big sit-down meals – and even a few Easter eggs. Easter Sunday marks the end of the fasting and abstinence associated with Lent. Church services celebrate the reason for the season.  So, lots of movement, activity and purpose – a busy time for all.  

A disconnected Easter

However, this Easter will be very different. Our plans have been unplugged by COVID-19, a totally unexpected, unplanned for event. The onset of the virus and the preventative measures we have been forced as a nation to take have cocooned us in a virtual, non-physical world. We now use WhatsApp to stay in contact with granny and granddad, who miss their grandchildren so much. We use MS Teams and Zoom to ‘meet’ with work colleagues and with clients. We use Outlook to plan skin-to-skin meetings that are push out further and further into the future.  

Connecting with one another

Online is OK; it allows us to work from home. It does a job. However, as humans we require something more, something deeper, something more tangible. We require the heart-to-heart as well as the face-to-face connections. The virtual world doesn’t have the depth to satisfy us. We have begun to miss deeply our physical connections with work colleagues as well as close family members. Perhaps we have begun to wonder whether we have taken those connections for granted.

“We require heart-to-heart as well as

face-to-face connections”

  Our forced abstinence has revealed something of vital importance: we need one another. We are nourishment for one another. Without us our families, friendship groups and workplace communities are clearly a pale shadow of what they might be. That is how valuable we are, and let’s not undervalue ourselves or others. As a theologian and managing director of a small business, I have looked around for what can be learned in our present situation. Time is a great teacher and so are the seasons. They come together in something many of us are familiar with, the season Lent. Lent is six weeks of individual and corporate preparation for Easter. It’s like your personal retreat, but more accessible, as you don’t have to put aside a chunk of time and travel to take part.  

Connecting: learning from Lent

Lent is a great teacher. It is not so much what we give up during Lent, it’s the internal and external journey through Lent that educates and challenges us. On one level we learn that we can do without sweets and beer and other such stuff. After all, we have plenty of that year-round. We are then challenged to put aside the money spent on the sweeties and beer and give it to those in need. Lent is a challenging enough teacher on that level alone! Of greater importance, however, is the spiritual spring clean that the Lenten journey encourages. Participants are again challenged, but this time the challenge is an interior one: to question the condition and honesty of our connections with others. If we recognise that we fall short, especially in our relations with friends, family and colleagues, we are challenged to change. We are also challenged to be as open and willing to connect with all comers, not just those we judge will help us in the future. Now that really is a challenge: to spring clean our mindset and our behaviour.  

Our lasting riches

The effects of the virus are acting like a magnifying glass during the Lent/COVID-19 2020 journey. They have shown all of us just how fragile our hold on life is. At the same time, they offer us lessons about what is of real value. Our lasting riches comprise genuine, deep connections with friends, with family and with our work mates. Hopefully, our abstinence has taught us they are worth putting work into, face-to-face, not at a distance. When we are all stepped down from ‘pandemic status’ I look forward to simple, celebratory meals with friends and family in Ireland and the UK. Their absence has made my heart grow fonder.     Dr Paul Gadie has a PhD in Theology. As well as being Managing Director of Gift Innovations, he writes about effective leadership and management in contemporary ecclesial life.  
Back to Top