- Holidays and Celebrations
GIVING, even in a time of great need
Giving, Even At A Time Of Great Need.
As the Holidays approaches, the emotions are starting to stir; we are thinking of others in ways that we do not always do in our day to day scheme of things. At this time, we start reflecting on our blessings as opposed to our misfortunes, and we try to put things in proper perspective. We count our blessings and appreciate our relationships.
This time of Giving as I like to call it, is a time for sober reflection; it is a time to be thankful and a time to be generous. I was raised a Christian, and we celebrated every Christian holiday that there is. We celebrated Easter, Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving with as much fanfare as you could possibly imagine. Through all the fanfare however, the one constant that I remember, that still resonates with me today is the Giving. I remember that we were not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but we were comfortable, where many of our neighbors and friends were not. My mother made it our place, our duty and our responsibilty to care for all these people during the holidays.
My mother always ran some kind of enterprise, along with her teaching job; the one enterprise that always came in handy during the holidays was her poultry farm. We raised chickens by the hundreds and we would sell eggs and chickens to the neighbors for extra money. On holidays however, our day would start at the break of dawn with cooking lots of chicken, rice, beans and other vegetables; we would also bake cake and make lots of buns. My mother would make a list of everyone that lived a half mile radius of our house, then my siblings and I would bring them all bowls filled with food and meat, and other goodies. We would also drive to distant friend and relatives and bring them the same.
This holiday generosity was not exclusive to my family, as some of our uncles, aunts, friends and associates would also send us food, clothes, shoes and even cash. My childhood was a childhood filled with memories of gift exchanges, food exchanges, generosity, philantropy and overall goodwill. These childhood experiences have influenced the path that I chose to follow, and is largely responsible for me working in Human Services today.
We used to do gift exchanges at my current job during the holidays, but this year we have decided to adopt a family. We have decided to adopt a family who has an adult child with disabilities, and has fallen on hard times. This family lost it's home and it's car and is strugguling to put food on the table. We have decided that we would help them with whatever we can, by putting gift cards and other items we can afford in a little box for them.
Now, this story is not unique, there are millions of family out ther like this one who are struggiling, and you may be one of them; for that matter, I may be one of them. What I have found however, is that no matter how tough things may be for you, ''there is no greater joy than that derived from giving''.
Giving and sharing makes me happier than anything in the world. I once was travelling at a subway station in Boston, Ma and came upon a woman in a wheelchair; this was before panhandling was discouraged at the station. This woman appeared to have no legs, and she wanted some money to buy a coffee; it was thanksgiving day, and I was on my way to visit my girlfriend's family. I reached into my pocket and found nothing but a $20 bill, which I proceeded to hand to this woman. The woman was grateful and happy and that made my day. As we proceeded on the journey however, it dawned on me that my girlfiend was not impressed with my generosity. She communicated to me that she thought I had been scammed, and that she would not have given that money. I tried to explain to her that the point was in the giving, and not in the motive, whatever it may have been. We since moved on, but that impression persisted, people view giving in many different lights.
As we prepare to celebrate I urge everyone to self reflect; have you known any blessings, any joys, any triumphs. Do these blessings trump your sorrows, your disappoinmenst, your losses. Are you your brothers keeper? has anyone moved mountains and jumped hurdles to get you where you are?
Have you jumped hurdles, moved mountains and skirted obstacles to make a difference in another persons life?
You do not have to be rich to give. You do not have to have plenty to give. The best giving is the giving you do when you are in a period of great need yourself. Giving is a soul pill. It heals your soul and makes you happy.
This season and in upcoming seasons, I ask you to adopt a family, a friend, a foe or a stranger. Find out what they need, and see that they get it. If you have cash or an old gift card, give it. If you have clothes you do not need, toys you do not need or memberships you do not need, give it. If you have a car you do not need, give it; an electronic you do not need, give it.
There is an effort required in giving, and that often deters some peole from giving. It is important however to remember that giving is not restricted to material things, you can give of your time to someone in need of attention or companionship.
So give and you will see, that your soul will be merry, and your holidays joyful♥