“Go into the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.”
Minor Myers Jr.
I’ve been scanning some blogs and noticing quite a bit of shall I say, disdain, displeasure, and distaste for the season? A prevalent attitude of “Bah-humbug!” ? This aversion to Christmas and the holidays in general seems to sprout from the stress of family gatherings, time constraints, greediness, over-shopping and over-spending, combined with a worse than turtle-ish economy, to downright poverty and fear of how to survive and keep a roof over your head. I understand. I can relate, I feel your pain. It’s difficult to be merry when budgets are squeaky-tight and you truly desire to give.
If you could give the best gift in the world, what would it look like? How much would it cost? For many of us in today’s society, what we value the most is time–our time. We need more of it, or maybe we need less of what doesn’t matter–stuff, things, pretty nothings that are soon forgotten, or perhaps not even used–or appreciated! Could you give a gift to a friend, family member, or neighbor, that had lasting value, yet you didn’t have to spend a penny? The gift of your time, to another, is the most precious gift. If you are stressed to the max, fresh out of dough, and can barely contain your grief upon hearing canned holiday Muzak, then lay the credit card down, put your hands in the air, and step away from the store counter. Prepare to make this one of the most memorable seasons you have ever had.
I’m talking giving here, not buying. What a concept! And not just for now, not just for December, but giving year-round. No special occasion, nothing forced, nothing expected, nor begrudged. Giving, plain and simple. I want to share with you some of the ways I’ve given over the years, and I share these examples not in pride, but as simple ways to lift one’s spirits, help in time of need, or just out of sheer love and surprise. I love flowers. Between my husband and I, we have more flowers each summer than we know what to do with. On many occasions, while visiting with someone, they have shared a burden or sadness with me. I’ve come home, grabbed the scissors, an empty glass jar, and cut and arranged a bouquet. A quick stop at their home, a bit of caring extended, a heart is warmed. Once I grabbed a bouquet, and just stopped in the local nursing home with no special recipient in mind. I walked the hall, open-minded as for someone to give the flowers to. I noticed a woman who reminded me of my mother. I said to her, “Do you like flowers?” A huge smile appeared, her face lit up and she said, “I love flowers… look!” She motioned to a bookcase which was filled with bouquets of plastic flowers… Surely, this was the person who needed some fresh flowers. My husband loves to garden, and every summer we invariably have more vegetables than we can use. For the past five years, we’ve taken our over-abundance to the local senior center and assisted living center. The veggies are either cooked and served, or the seniors are free to choose what they need and take them home. A few years ago, a neighbor lady was without the use of her car during the winter. On a couple of occasions, I took her to the bank, market, and post office. Every winter, after using the snow blower on our sidewalks, my husband continues across the street and clears an older woman’s sidewalk. In our area, every summer a local farmer opens his Sweet Corn fields to anyone who desires to come and pick their own Sweet Corn–for free.
Needs waiting to be met are as numerous as there are people in the world. Could you be that person who can meet a need? I’ve just heard of Richard St. Denis, a CNN Hero and ‘Community Crusader’ who having lost the use of his legs in a skiing accident, sends refurbished wheelchairs to people with disablilities in rural Mexico. People who previously had to pull themselves around in the dirt, are now able to have mobility, and a sense of independence and pride. The grateful smiles on their faces are priceless.
Change a life, change the world. The examples I share are just a snippet of what is being done in this world to make it a better place. If you can step away from yourself, and open your eyes, heart, and mind to how you could share your abundance, talents, and… time. Remember the starfish story? Starfish on the shore, too numerous to count, all needing to be returned to the ocean to survive? Throw one back, but there are so many left… Do what you can, with what you have to make a difference to one–or more! A gift is not a gift until it is given away… share your time–your life, and make this a season you and many others will never forget. Do good, and reap the benefits… pay it forward… without spending a cent.
Joy Richter 2011 ©copyright 2011 J.R.LIGGETT LTD