Amy and I were sitting cross legged on the floor in my room. You can probably picture the 70s shag carpeting and wooden carpet rake leaning up against the wall. My Jenny Lind bed and …
Giving Makes a Life
Our eight year old selves were deeply engrossed in our Barbie play and the Barbie camper was our imaginary adventure muse. Action Jackson and GI Joe played pivotal roles among the dolls as we played out all types of scenarios from marriages and honeymoons to foreign travel as war correspondents, transforming the bus from a camper to a U.S. Army truck full of pink bedazzled soldiers in high heels. As our play came to an end, Amy told me how much she wished she could have a Barbie camper. I sent her home with mine and a few Barbie dolls to live inside. I didn’t find out until years later how much this tortured my mother who did not want to squelch my giving spirit but was horrified that I could so easily give away what she believed was a treasured possession of mine.
This is a pattern that has played out throughout my lifetime as I have met people along the way and shared what I had or what they admired with them. I’ve certainly developed discernment over time that has prevented me from “giving away the farm,” so to speak, but the core of my giving nature remains. I often questioned myself about my intentions—are they true and properly grounded or are they about being liked. (I always have to overthink it.)
The other day, I was driving past a local church on my way to an appointment and noticed their sign—“Getting makes a living. Giving makes a life.”
The sign captured my attention and made me hit pause. A simply stated truth—Giving makes a life.
My eight year old self didn’t know it yet—I was making a life. I was sowing the seeds of giving not just for myself but also others in some karmic, joy filled, cosmic future. I was preparing to be philanthropic in ways that were meaningful to me and others. And I was being prepared to receive and accept gifts of kindness when I needed them most.
As we enter the season of giving, I hope each of you will take the time to make a purposeful and meaningful gift to an organization or cause you believe in—I’m definitely biased toward Family Service Society, but I also give to cancer related causes on behalf of my son, Alzheimer’s on behalf of my father, United Way for my community and organizations who do work on behalf of animals.
Locally we have some amazing and well respected organizations who already do powerful work and with additional support, they will continue to positively transform our community. Maybe, for you, your giving is best intended for a specific person who needs a helping hand while they recover from an illness or deal with a major, life changing event.
No matter the cause, every gift makes a beautiful and meaningful life—for you and for others.