Last night, we had dinner in Cincinnati with our oldest granddaughter. Across the way, there was a table of four people exchanging gifts. They seemed to be enjoying the act of giving.
I think that is probably true about a lot of human beings. We like to give to others, when we can. Sometimes, even when we can’t. There was a story on the CBS Evening news the other night. They were covering that same rich guy, who every year at Christmas, goes around passing out $100 bills to people. He picks a different city from year to year.
This time, he did something a little different, besides his normal giving. He found a homeless guy on the street. He handed him something like $4000 and told him he could give it to anyone he chose. The news guys followed him around with hidden cameras to document his deliveries.
Not only were the recipients deeply touched, the homeless man also had a moving experience each time. The act of giving. And, for the record, he too received a cash gift from the benefactor.
There have been many psychological studies of why gift giving is so rewarding. Most have found that this act of kindness allows people to connect. The giving / receiving builds our emotions, our heart connections. And, making connections with the people around us, gives us a sense of purpose. A feeling of satisfaction.
This goes on a lot at this time of year. Sometimes, more successfully than others. (We won’t go in to the Psychology of Re-Gifting.)
But giving is a good thing. And something, some of us do well, throughout the entire year. Albeit, not everyone has $4000 in Benjamins laying around either. Or, not everyone is a member of a church that goes out and rakes people’s yards. Or, not everyone crochets and makes hats for kids in hospitals.
Each person has their own gift to give. Their unique way of goodness.
Some people offer warm smiles and kind words to the people they meet. Others open doors, or carry groceries. Maybe they buy the coffee for the guy in line behind them. Still others save up pocket change, and donate to the giving bucket when they can.
The other day I posted a quote, and I can’t remember who said it. But their words were: ““Every good deed is acceptable goodness.”
And that is just the thing. We all have our own paths. And, how we give is good. No matter what. We need to consider our skills and talents when it comes to the context of philanthropic work. We all have our unique aptitudes that can be put to use helping others. Any day. And in so many ways.
The smallest gesture may have an incredibly positive impact in the lives of the people around us. Lifting spirits. Opening hearts. Trying, always trying, as we go.
“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”
― Robert T. Kiyosaki
“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart’s affections and the truth of the Imagination.”
― John Keats
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations