Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Giving Really Means

If you don't have any children, someone you know does. Or perhaps someone you don't know does.. Ask around and you'll discover who has a need that involves children. In this economy, with so many parents laid off or under employed, it could be very gratifying personally, to help folks who are smothering under a blanket of insufficient resources.    

A few years ago during the holidays, I asked around at work and learned of a family that would be the benefactor of my good will.  I gifted a single mom co-worker with an extremely generous gift card for groceries. Before I knew it, I was getting feedback from others that - hers wasn't a needy family after all.  She drove a nice car, she makes this much an hour.. Blah blah blah blah blah.  I gave her the gift card, anyway.  As a single mother myself, I thought I understood the way I should care about my sister.  Before the day was over, the co-worker asked me for the receipt so she could exchange the card for cash.   I felt insulted, and was thinking there could be some truth to the gossip.   

Why would she do that?  As it turns out, she needed the cash to buy a game that her kids really wanted for Christmas. In the end, she found this game at the grocery store and she used the gift card to purchase it.  

Later on, I felt guilty that I couldn't find the receipt for her, on purpose.  I was ashamed that I chose to ignore her needs.  An ordinary act of kindness had turned to turmoil.  I allowed others to persuade me that by asking for the receipt to exchange the gift card for cash, she was being ungrateful.  Spiritually, I was compelled to put a mirror in my face and take a long hard look at myself.  Convicted by my own wrong attitude about giving.  

Giving is not supposed to be about the giver or our desire or ability to give. Giving is about blessing others.  In this case, the children of my coworker.

Lessons I learned about charitable giving:  

  • Find out and give what the recipient wants or needs.
  • Let the giving be between the giver and God and the recipient.
Just a thought.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy 240th Birthday Marines!

Photo of Marines at Ground Zero from Flicker
I caught myself smiling today.. Several times, in fact. It's funny because on the surface I could say that I was smiling for no reason, when actually, each time I had specific thoughts that triggered the smile. Not that I'm not normally a smiling person, I was just acutely aware of each occurrence of my smiling face and smiling soul.  I wondered what I must have looked like to others - Someone sitting in a waiting room by herself, not reading, or talking on the cell phone... just looking around and smiling.

Watching people while waiting to see my doctor, I felt my body shift and my face lift when I looked upon someone who reminded me of a friend who laughs and smiles all the time. I haven't seen him in about three years but we talk on the phone every now and then. I love talking to him, and even having to leave him a voice message if he doesn't answer... because I get to listen to his seriously happy voice mail greeting.. I don't know anyone else who has a happy voice mail greeting.  I'm thinking of calling him tonight.. if only to hear his happy greeting and to leave him a happy message thanking him for being so happy and making me smile.

Contrastly, the VA waiting room can be a clutter of tension and frustration.. Even when you have an appointment the wait can be ridiculously long. This was my first post-op visit to my primary care doc.. that had nothing to do with my surgery. I can't say I was happy to be there, but I usually enjoy watching the old Vets walking around, or being wheeled around by a loved ones.. and reading the ball caps and flight jackets they proudly wear boasting their ancient unit logos and patches and insignia. These symbols tell the stories of where they've been and who they really are. Proud of my lowly vet status and affiliation with them.. I smiled.

There were plenty of young vets banged up and bandaged waiting their turns, too. When I see these guys, I don't really smile on the inside, imagining what they've experienced in Iraq and Afghanistan. But my outside smile is not just with my mouth, but with my eyes.. Truly grateful and happy that they are here, and hopeful each one will live as long as the old vets have.

I finally hear my name and my face lights up. I love my doc! Not just because he reminds me of Santa Claus with his solid white hair and crystal blue eyes, but because he is someone who embodies Trust • Respect • Excellence • Compassion & Commitment to all -just like Santa! He always makes me smile, coming and going. The fact that he was a Marine definitely contributes to the feel good factor. And you know I love me some Marines!

Car parked in "Guam" (meaning -a long ways out), I thought it was too lovely a day for taking the shuttle bus to and through the myriad parking lot, I decided to walk it. Enroute, I got to witness the exuberance of one particular valet in a white jumper and yellow vest who crowned himself traffic cop! Crossing people on a corner and signaling directions with wild hand gestures and his plastic whistle ... Drivers obeyed. And pedestrians giggled our asses off while wobbling and smiling gratefully to our cars.

Yes, I consciously smiled thinking happy thoughts, quite a lot for the rest of the day.. With all of these reasons and some undisclosed.. How could I not?

This is a repost from my 2009 post entitled:  Smiling face smiling soul

 Anyone can teach you about love... but I can make you good at it!

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