The generosity of others

Recently I found out a little something about the spirit of the place I’ve been living for the past nine months.  Having spent almost four years living overseas, living a bit of an unrealistic life, I haven’t had a reason to know what the word ‘recession’ really means.  Now, I know a bit more about what those words mean.

A friend was telling a story about a family she knew from her sons school.  The family had recently seen unspeakable amounts of tragedy, three family members lost in the same month, one of them the father.  As I heard more about this family, now with only a grief stricken mother and a sad and confused small child, I felt an ache begin to grow in my chest.  This family of two struggles through the day, not just with grief, but with putting food on the table and finding a way to hopefully place even a single gift under the tree.

I stood in my fancy kitchen, in my house that’s really far too big, glancing around at all the…stuff we have and it really hit me how lucky I am.  I am lucky.  I am blessed.  We are not worrying how to afford to give our children gifts or about putting food on the table.  I don’t stay up at night wondering what to do when the last dollar is long gone.

I don’t think ‘let me give away everything I own to those less fortunate’.  That’s an unbalanced concept.  But I do think I could give up that fancy coffee this week and eat dinner in one night instead of going out.  I could give even that small amout of money I don’t spend as a gift to a family that really needs it.

In the past five years, we’ve always lived somewhere safe and secure, somewhere warm and comfortable.  It wasn’t until this conversation that I finally understood what recession means, what unemployment means.  When I think of these words, I now picture the faces of my friends, who themselves are facing hardship and have nothing more than a turkey dinner to offer, but do so willingly and happily in order to bring a smile to this small family’s face.

This is Christmas spirit.  This is the generosity of heart and of kindness.  There are so many in this community that need a helping hand.  Along with another friend, we plan to make sure this family can make a sad first Christmas without a loved one, just a little less painful.  A warm dinner on the table, a few gifts under the tree, a warm coat in the extreme cold.

Take five minutes to look around your own home.  Do you have something that could help another family?  Can you spare even $5 to give a child a toy to unwrap?  I encourage all of you to give what you can to a family in need this holiday season. 

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12 thoughts on “The generosity of others

  1. We bought stockings for two patients at our local children's hospital and will put the donation cards that came with them in our kids' stockings, explaining that we gave a gift on their behalf.It isn't much, but it's something.

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  2. Thank you for this reminder. We aren't able to give this year but we always have in the past. My kids are making crafts to decorate the senior center in our hometown instead. I believe every little bit helps.

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  3. When big T was born someone left a little christmas tree all decorated for us, and a few little outfits on our front porch. Him being born so early, Christmas was the last thing on my mind. I've never known who that was, but I was so touched, by the gesture. Whether you can give just a little or a lot you can make someone's holiday a little brighter.

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  4. I agree it does make me feel so much better when I am GIVING. There are so many out there with situations and sorrows far worse then our own. Even in my own grief, I know I am still blessed in many ways………and there are others suffering far worse things. If we can't help each other through the tough times and the grief then I think we are living an empty life indeed.

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  5. The hardship of others is the wake-up call for ourselves. It's good that you felt sympathy and not “Well better them than me,” because far too many people could care less about this… hence why the world is so effed up to begin with.

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  6. Awesome post! What's amazing is the feeling you get inside while serving someone less fortunate. It's indescribable. You are right that the majority of this world is focused on “stuff”, like having the most wins some prize. I hope you and your family have a great Christmas.

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