We all have something to give. A hand, an ear, an open heart, a word of encouragement or maybe it’s time, money or knowledge. Giving is how we create meaning in our lives.
“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” Khalil Gibran
Giving creates a flow… it reaches out…. touches and transforms. Through giving we change the lives of others and in so doing find ourselves. If you ever thought what you can do won’t make a difference, here’s a great story. A grandmother, who lives in my community, was inspired to do something after a trip to Uganda. “I’d seen the kids living in a garbage dump,” she explained, “the need was extreme.” She came home and began doing what she did best, baking banana bread. She baked and sold banana bread and in 3 years she had raised enough money to build an orphanage in Uganda. She reached her goal and is now working on a second one.
I believed I was doing my part. But a recent wake-up call has left me knowing it‘s not enough.
Two weeks ago my husband and I were in Seattle. We joined the throngs of people caught up in the holiday spirit that had transformed the downtown into a festive wonderland. It was cold….an arctic front had wrapped the Pacific Northwest in a deep chill and temps were well below freezing. Rosy cheeked shoppers bundled in warm winter coats and wrapped in fluffy, soft, woolly scarves and mitts bustled merrily. It was a perfect Christmas scene. We turned a corner. A young woman encased in a old dirty blanket held a cardboard sign that said, Depressed, no family, cold. Can you help?
We stopped just past her and turned to look at each other thinking the same thing. She was close to our daughter’s age. How did she land up here — on the streets of Seattle? What happened to her? Where was her family? We gathered all the cash we had it totaled $8.00. I went back and handed it to her. She looked at me with sad, scared eyes. In a soft small voice she said, “thank you. ”I wanted to cry…my heart hurt.
I need to do more. Instead of checking things off Christmas lists I need to Give. I need to share more of what I have…what we have. I need to give EVERYTHING I can.
Giving touches the soul. “I have found among other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” Maya Angelou
Giving creates meaning and purpose. When we give we create significance and meaning…we become a catalyst for change, we deeply understand we are all connected.
Giving changes the world.
How to give—ask yourself:
What is important to me?
What do I deeply care about?
Where is help needed in my community?
Where can my knowledge or talent/skill be applied?
If I could bring about any change what would I want it to be?
Brainstorm ways to maximize the number of lives you hope to touch and ways to increase your range of influence.
Search volunteer databases by location, by organization , the type of work they do or who they help.
Establish a regular Giving Practice in your life.
Make the changes you are able to make now, and let the spirit of giving spread like wildfire, touching the lives of people you may never meet, across boundaries you may never cross, in ways you may never imagine.
Opportunities to give are everywhere.
Get started with small deeds doable on a daily basis. If you are able, make monetary contributions to organizations and individuals whose work you support, spend time with seniors and hear their stories, fill a bag for the food bank and deliver it, offer support to a friend who is struggling or mentor a young person.
Let’s all find ways to better encourage, inspire, accept, support and love others.
The power of giving is the ticket to changing the world and ourselves.