Thursday, July 26, 2012
A Lesson in Giving
I approached the doors of Walmart, trying to look invisible as I passed the table outside. A woman’s voice said, “We’re collecting school supplies today.” I assumed she was talking to me, but I avoided eye contact. I muttered a noncommittal response and continued inside, trying to ignore the guilt mounting inside me. I tried to consoled myself, leaning on the excuse that as a one-income family, we are limited in the amount we can give.
Moments later, I stood in the bedding aisle holding a bed skirt - a completely nonfunctional item serving only to add to the aesthetics of my daughter’s bedroom. I pulled my shopping list from my purse. Few things were actual necessities. Instantly, my mind suddenly left the store, floating away and resting on a memory I had long since forgotten…
I was in my college dorm room, flipping through the TV channels when I came to an episode of MTV Cribs. The celebrity, whose name isn’t important (and I don’t remember anyway), paraded the cameras through his custom-built garage. At the end of a long line of motorcycles of varying models and colors sat a motorcycle molded out of solid gold. I thought of all the people who could be helped with the money that was now sitting idly in the form of a solid gold motorcycle. How sad that people are so greedy, I thought as I changed the channel.
The memory evaporated as quickly it came, leaving behind the sticky residue of the bubble of denial that had burst in my face. I was suddenly aware of my own abundance: the 55 inch TV mounted to my living room wall, the Android in my pocket, the appliances, decorations, clothes – everything in my life that is so far beyond the realm of true necessity – my own golden motorcycle.
I started to wonder what might happen if I stopped placing the responsibility on those with obvious, excessive wealth and started focusing on sharing my own abundance as much as possible.
I reached up and put the bed skirt back on the shelf and headed for the school supplies.
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