The Gift of Giving

I watched a video on facebook today that moved me.   Moved me to tears.  Moved me to smile.  Moved me to share it.  But most importantly, moved me to ACTION.  I love facebook.  My family makes fun of me – is a middle aged woman supposed to love facebook?  There are so many reasons to love it - 

I can see what the people I care about are up to – the cool places they go, the pictures they take

I can read motivational, uplifting messages (it’s all about what/who you are following)

I can get to know people better; people share what they believe in or are passionate about

I can see photos of all the children of my friends and my distant family - babies I might never see in person

I can learn about cool stuff going on in the neighborhood

I can take the quiz “who is your soulmate” and giggle that the answer is my daughter

I can share things I’ve read with other people – things about health or running or cooking or travel

There’s a lot of great stuff on facebook.  It beats watching depressing news.  I can scroll right on by things I don’t feel like reading.  I can “unfollow” negativity and ugliness.  I can create a feed of things that make my day better.  It’s scientifically proven (or at least I read it on facebook) that you become what you surround yourself with; if you are constantly reading bad news or drama, your outlook is dark.  If you read about the good going on in the world, that becomes your reality.  Some might call this “rose colored glasses”; I call it focusing on the good.   I like to put my time and energy into things that will make me grateful and healthy.  

So, back to my ACTION.  This video that made me laugh and cry and want to DO something was about a very wealthy man who took 100,000 dollars in 100 bills and spread it amongst some Kansas City policemen.  He then asked the policeman to randomly pull over cars and, rather than giving a citation, give them $100.  Cash.  On the spot.  The police officers looked for the beat up cars, the tired looking single moms, the people who looked like $100 might make a real difference.   The people receiving this gift wept and laughed and were so grateful…. I mean, imagine.  You’re getting pulled over, it’s a long week, you’re tired, you’re broke, and now – a potential TICKET.  For the love of God, you can’t take one more thing.  We have all been there; at least all of the people I know.  

I grew up in a world where one unexpected bill could turn your household upside down.  One unexpected bill could mean less food on the table, some other bill that wasn’t going to get paid, and a whole lot of worry.  I still have times when I feel short on cash, or have too many bills, but I have been extremely fortunate to have a great job and a great partner to help financially, and I don’t have those same kinds of worries anymore.  But I know a lot of people still do.  A lot of people don’t know how they are going to get their next meal or pay their gas bill in the winter.  They don’t know how they are going to pay for their kid’s dental bill or buy school supplies.      

I feel extraordinarily grateful that I have more than I need.  I don’t have a spare 100K lying around like the wealthy guy in Kansas City, but I do have some extra cash – I just got some bonus money I wasn’t expecting.  I started an experiment today with that extra money – giving it away.  I got some cash from the ATM and have just started handing it out.  5 people so far today.  I’m giving money to my kids, too – not to spend, but to give away.  The one thing I found particularly powerful about this video was that joy that the GIVING gave to these policemen; even if it wasn’t their money to give away.  They give bad news all day long; how WONDERFUL is it to give someone some good news?  To experience the sheer joy and gratitude from someone who genuinely needed help must have been a life changing experience.  It just feels like double giving.  It’s about giving someone the gift of giving, and giving someone a small gift that might make a difference to them that day.   I have to say, I am confident that I have benefitted from this at least as much as the recipients of my small gifts.  I can’t wait to give some more away.  I can’t wait to see how my kids feel when they do it.    

I debated writing this blog post because I don’t want it to be about ME giving something away or patting myself on the back for being generous.  I want everyone to realize how MUCH we all have and how we can all share; how we can all operate from a place of abundance rather than lack.  I seriously don’t feel all that generous – I feel like it’s giving myself a wonderful gift.  It’s giving myself the gift of touching another human’s life in a small way, and I feel so LUCKY that I have the ability to do it.  I’m secretly hoping, too, that someone might read this and feel moved to action – to help others, to make someone’s day a little brighter, to buy someone a meal or a tank of gas, and to receive the gift of GIVING in the process.   

Here's the link to the facebook video I watched.  Enjoy.