***ANOTHER WARNING: I’ve used a lot of the movie Love Actually in this post, mainly because many of my friends adore Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, and Hugh Grant (OK … that last one is because I’m a fan of his).  Plus it’s a really good film to use for a pick-me-up!!!***

This week marked the start of the Lenten season and as we approached Ash Wednesday, I found myself struggling with what Lenten promise to make this time around.  You see, I’ve done the whole giving up of alcohol, fries, fast food, sweets, pop, etc.  While I’ve not batted 100% in those promises from the past, I think I’ve done better than .650.

But none of these seemed right this time around.  So I decided to give up swearing and to penalize myself $.10 every time I slipped up.  Within 48 hours of Ash Wednesday, I’m approaching $5 for this week alone … and it’s not even Saturday yet.

This does not bode well.

As I attempt to cut back on my use of 4 letter words, I still feel indifferent about it.  I feel sad, depressed, and generally blue and not because I’m failing to come up with a good Lenten promise or even keep the half-hearted one I’ve already made.  As I figure out what’s wrong with me and why I’m feeling this way, it occurs to me that over the last week, I’ve had to say “Goodbye” to a number of things and that has been difficult to do.

This weekend was the last one that I will have as a member of the Michigan Jaycees Board of Directors.  My term as Chairman of the Board has come and gone … and I’m very for glad for it.  I have found that, while many of those MIJC Past Presidents who have come before me think it’s the best position around because you don’t have to do much at all (since you’re finally getting the break that is deserved after a full year as President), my time as CoB was one of the most frustrating experiences ever.  It was frustrating because, in my opinion, many of the things I tried to instill in the organization to make it better were left behind with my time as #87.  Whether they were the almost complete lack of declaring  “We Build Leaders“, or if it was the return of petty politics, or the ignoring of an opportunity to build upon a partnership with the State of Michigan, they were left behind it seemed.

I’ve really struggled with this.  But now, I’m done with it. I’ve passed on “the ring” and I need to move on.

Getting back to Lenten promises, perhaps my Lenten promise doesn’t need to be one where I’m giving something up, where I have to say “Goodbye” to something bad within me.  Maybe it needs to be one where I start to realize that, despite low points in life and despite my inner struggles to be more perfect, perhaps I need to recognize the good that is around me and amplify that.

Perhaps I need to take the advice of Hugh Grant.  It would, at the least, give me a reason to get a passport so I could visit London.

Yes, I think this Lent the promise shall be to always remember, despite the number of things we say “Goodbye” to, that love actually is all around.  Thanks to all of my friends who, just by being themselves, will help remind me of this for the next 38 Lenten days and beyond.  I love you guys!