The times in which we live can be likened to the familiar first lines of a certain Charles Dickens’ novel. We live in an age of opulence. We live in an age of economic uncertainty. We live in an era when taking advantage of a bargain may mean taking advantage of someone else. We live in a time of technological prowess, but a time that all too often lacks real relationship.
In these moments, we tend to forget. We forget to be human.
I forget homeless men and women are hungry as I eat. I forget some kids are exploited, living with abusive caretakers… if we can call them that. I forget it’s good to give because I am so worried about my own bills and the paychecks I fear won’t come fast enough to guarantee my own survival.
I long to remember why it is good to give. I want to recall that feeling, that conviction, of what giving is and why I should want it. Of compassion rather than compulsion, I yearn to reconsider, recapture, and harness giving with its gentle nature.
For giving is not simply charity.
Giving is compassion.
Giving is connecting with someone, with no motive of personal gain.
Giving is sharing what you have, whatever that may be.
Giving is seeking to bless others, with acknowledgement you have been blessed.
Giving is a monetary donation with a commitment to stay engaged.
Giving is a hearty meal with no need for reimbursement.
Giving is a thoughtful card, sent the old-fashioned way.
Giving is a soft kiss to someone you love.
Giving is a kind word, spoken to a stranger in the store aisle.
Giving is an afternoon spent with someone who longs for your attention.
Giving is a cheerful spirit with no sense of begrudging.
Giving is a decision to forgive and move beyond past wrongs.
Giving is a personal choice, but giving is also a community effort.
When the spirit of giving is infused into our daily actions and our everyday thoughts, then we remember: This is who we were created to be.
Photograph credit: nonprofit organization Compassion International (Stop by their website, and see ways to give this season.)