Friday, 8 November 2013

Giving Time

I like to help out. I have been known to volunteer for all kinds of things, sometimes things where my help is questionable but most often where I can truly be of use. I believe it is important to help others. Research has shown that people who help others are happier, healthier and enjoy life more. Helping others helps me.

It's not about giving money. In fact I see giving money as a lazy way out and wonder if the money I give really makes a difference, especially where I do not see the cause in or around me. I see the infomercials and advertisements on the television for international aid and ask myself how much of the money given actually gets to those featured in the ads, how much it costs to produce this TV spectacular. I see posters on buses and billboards, begging me for more and more donations, driving donation fatigue to the point where any request for aid is drummed out by the surrounding noise of media mendication. Begging has become big business, delivering its demands in every arena of communication.

Charity is the living practice of giving of oneself and caring for others. It is an active event,  the "doing" of something. Financial gifts are certainly a part of charity, but is it really charity when you simply drop some money into a kettle as you walk into the mall? Is it really charity when you send your cheque off to some nameless, faceless organization dedicated to saving this or stopping that or changing something else?

Charity should be intimate; it should be self-impacting. Charity is best delivered up close and personal. Charity is giving of your tithes and talents. In other words you cannot simply buy off the problems of the world by signing a pledge form. If you really want to make a difference, make it personal. Do something that takes time, that takes away your time and gives it to others.

Charity is not the big act, the giant, media sized poster cheque ideal for newspaper publication. True charity is the small personal act; taking a meal to someone who lives alone, giving your new coat to a man who has no coat at all, helping where no help is requested by much help is needed. Certainly the larger causes matter, the cancer campaigns, the ALS fund raisers. Yet to really give to them, I believe that your time is as important as your money, perhaps moreso. Money is easy, time is hard.

The best things I have ever done have been when I have taken time out of my schedule and life, and given that time to others, when I have given of myself. The best gifts I have to give are those that impact me when I give them, those that make me wince a bit. The best gift I have to give is the gift of my time; I don't have a lot of it, nor does anyone else.

1 comment:

  1. Richard, every morning I read your blog now, and it usually helps set the tone for the day.I have been very blessed that I have no physical disabilities, but my lifeboth at work and at home and with family members has been a constant stream of the less abled for many years. More to do with financial challenges but as I get older and face my own mortality and family and friends health challenges , and it comes closer to home ie bathroom layouts, no rails on steps, adaquate parking etc.
    I have given my notice for my special needs woman who lives with me, However I do kind of feel like a sailboat without a rudder. What now for me. Am I going to champion the cause of people who have mobility issues or am \i going to life my life as hard and fast as I can and then let someone go to bat for me?. What can I do, where should I go who can I help most? Im really not looking for answers, Richard, just venting and chewing over my choices. And I do have many choices, probably if the truth be told, more than Ive ever had before.I dont have to work,I can come and go wherever I want , moneys not a challenge. Everybody tells me, this is your time now, do what you want, go where you want etc. But it all seems pretty shallow to me. I had the ``Jesus first, yourself last, and others in between pounded into me as a child and its hard for me not to feel guilty when Im doin g only for me..
    Because your posts feel somewhat voyueristic sometimes to me,after all I read how a man gets his pants up and down,and does his business and Ive never met the man,sometimes I want to give advice, like why not use a urinal in your chair. If youn dont want advice, tell me to MMOB..
    One thing it has really done for me is help me get my head out of my own sorrow and search for the courage you have as you live with ALS and for this I thank you.