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1.18.2011

Who Cares?

Seems to me that there's giving, and then there's giving. The first kind comes from a sense of obligation, giving a gift to someone, not because we care about them, but because we feel we have to for the sake of holidays, birthdays, etc. In fact, this kind of giving is almost always between two people who really don't even like each other. This kind of giving goes nowhere, does nothing, and begets nothing. The second kind of giving comes from the heart. Often, it is totally unexpected, and sometimes even anonymous. "Paying it forward", as it's currently called. That kind of giving attracts all kinds of good things for everyone concerned because it brings us together in the joyful space between giving and receiving.

Today, I met a woman who went to school with Nettl. They hadn't seen each other in 30 years, and she came to Stillwater to take Nettl out to lunch. Bonnie has become a friend of not only mine, but also Ville's via Facebook, so she also made plans to stop by and meet me, then swing by Ville's house before heading back home to Tulsa. I liked her immediately I set eyes on her and, when she handed me two large bags of groceries, I nearly cried. We've been pretty broke recently, as you may know, and we were down to nearly nothing, with no money in sight until the first of February. All I had to give her in return was a play one-million dollar bill that I'd stuck to the fridge door as a joke, so I handed it to her, telling her that I hope her generosity will attract more prosperity and goodness to her life. I said that it was my hope that one day I'd be in a position to help others as she had done. Ville desperately needed a coat; when Bonnie went to meet her, she had a coat to give her. Later, she posted a note in Facebook. I asked her if I could post it here, and she agreed, so here it is.
Today, I met a new friend in person. I have been "talking" with this wonderful person via FB for many months now, and I couldn't wait to meet her in person and hug her neck. I knew right away that we would be friends. After spending only a few minutes with her, I could tell that she had a heart of gold. We talked about many things, but our conversation turned to events and attitudes that have caused us to think about ourselves and those around us more closely.
One thought that surfaced was our society's lack of charity, in an altruistic manner, thinking of ourselves as somehow more important than those around us -- a perception that seems to pervade our selfish, egocentric humanity. She talked about helping others, and said, ' you know, people used to care about one another. It's something we seem to have lost along our way.'
She said she often donates to local charities, and that has always made her feel like she has done her part to help "those less fortunate," but realized that she is surrounded by friends and loved ones who are "the less fortunate", who struggle every day with making rent, paying bills, or buying food to feed their families. It struck a chord with me. I am surrounded by many who face that same reality each day, as well.
I am one of the lucky ones. I have a job. My husband does, too. We have a nice home. We know that when we turn the key each morning, our cars will start. We have health insurance, and we can go to the doctor when we are sick. We dine out several times each week. We are members of not one gym, but two. We don't have to choose between paying for heat or paying for milk. Though we are far from wealthy, we are able to live comfortably. We no longer live paycheck to paycheck, as we once did.
We have the resources to live well, and to share better than we do. We are richly blessed.
Cynic that I am, I have never made a resolution to begin any new year. But this year, I will be different. I will resolve to help others more. Not generally, or even anonymously through some faceless charitable organization, but personally connecting with those God has placed in my life and around my life.
We have created a society that selfishly hoards material wealth, and selectively ignores, persecutes, and dismisses the least of its citizens. And we excuse our despicable behavior by flippantly shouting with our words and our deeds, "Who cares?"
I cannot change others, nor is it my place to condemn or condone. I will simply change what I do. I will stand up and say, "I care."
Will you?
Thank you, Bonnie, dear new friend, for caring.

1 comment :

  1. There are still some good ones left... great story

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