In the aftermath and on going tragedy in Japan, I’ve been thinking about the nature of giving and receiving every day and in times of need. These disasters and tragedies seem to keep coming and we may find ourselves thinking, how much more can we give? Maybe you gave heartily to Haiti and many of us may think “if I were well off I’d give or I’d give so much more all the time.” The truth is that money only makes us more who we already are. If you are a generous person who gives where and when you can, you will be even more so if you have more money. If you are generally someone who is fearful and tightfisted with your money, you will be even more so when you have money. I’ve heard that many times and I believe it to be true having seen it in my own life and borne out in the lives of others. For me, personally, I was born with a charity chip firmly embedded in my make-up. Starting at about eight years old, watching the Jerry Lewis telethon each year, I would sit my mother in front of a phone with tears streaming down my face and say, “look at that kid! Call right now!” I just kind of always knew that we were here to help each other along. I recently read a speech by Nelson Mandela where he said not only is it our task in life to care for one another but to care for ourselves. We must be careful in our decisions, careful in our relationships, careful in our statements. We must manage our lives carefully, in order to avoid becoming victims. Obviously, it’s not always easy, but I would venture to say that it’s most rewarding and revealing when it’s hard. It’s our pain in life that makes us strong and makes us connected to each other. This is never more tested than when it’s your turn to receive. There is nothing more humbling and spiritual than when you are just laid bare and need to reach out your hand. And I promise you, that time comes for all of us. A day when we are brought to our knees by death, divorce, illness, disaster, job loss, tragedy, depression….a day when our fellow man gives us their hand and pulls us up…..and both are saved. Many of us shy away from the pain, this kind of intensity of feeling…of giving and receiving. But again, like with so many things in life, in and through the pain comes beauty.
Why should we give until it hurts? Because it hurts so good.