I had an interesting conversation the other day with a friend who is in the same financial situation I am - meaning on the struggling side, relatively speaking. She was challenging my commitment to giving to charity, suggesting that I was doing my daughter and myself a disservice by giving money I don't have to causes that will always be "causes", like making poverty history, the one campaign, orphan sponsorship international. I listened to her, but in the end, had to respond that not giving was doing my daughter and myself a disservice.
Every day I am teaching my daughter to treat others as if they were her family. Why? Because they are her family, and mine and yours. Does my daughter need another pair of socks, another dvd, another trip to the movies? No. These things don't edify her, and they don't define her either. Each dollar we put towards charity, meaning towards another human life, is a dollar that is making a difference. Other friends have told me: You can't change the world." Well, you know what? I am. I am changing the world...in my own small way, I am. So maybe I don't have a thousand dollars to lend to KIVA, who cares? My $25, joined with all the other $25 donations, makes $1000. So maybe I can't send as much to Dollars For Change as I'd like, so what? My $5 joins with all the other dollars and creates a difference for those kids Katie is helping.
Yes, it is difficult at times in my community -- being surrounded by mega-mansions and lexus SUVS and women wearing make-up that costs more than my entire wardrobe. But, most of the time I am feeling sorry for them. How can you connect with the truth of this world when you are hiding behind all that expensive stuff? What a sad life. Everything they have will turn to dust one day. Everything. Everything I have: hope, joy, peace, truth...will be with me forever, and ever and ever.
I want my daughter to enjoy lasting wealth - the soul wealth that giving and selflessness and wisdom bring. Yes, I know, as another friend said, I am not making much of a 'dent' by giving and sharing of myself as I choose to. But I'm not trying to make a 'dent', I'm trying to give what I can to whomever needs it. It shocks me that people can spend their lives chasing after the next best car, house, school, boyfriend, fill-in-the-blank. What does that leave you with at the end of the day?Nothing! Nada! I join with other kindred spirits and I stick my neck out, and I don't care if people laugh at me or think I'm foolish or naive.
I want my life to be a living prayer of gratitude and giving. I want to spend every last drop of my life energy making a difference in the lives of others. I want to die exhausted, used up, spent!
I want to die knowing I have lived as a witness to my daughter of the value of each and every life. What better legacy can I leave her?
Ok, sermon over. Move on, people.....