Planet earth has been shaking and rolling in diverse places for a very long time. In the past month, Haiti and Chile have experienced devastating earthquakes. The forces of nature and the randomness with which earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, storms and tornadoes unleash their power is unsettling, to say the least.
The despair and suffering we witness through media reports has moved many to set aside their life routines and join in hands-on relief efforts. For most of us, all we can do is financially support relief agencies. Helping humankind get through catastrophic events both near and far away calls us to a reckoning within our souls and the acknowledgement that we are fellow travellers in the great adventure of life on earth.
Charity can also be demonstrated with acts of kindness and gracious words, words of affirmation, acceptance and hope rather than condemnation and judgment. When judgment enters into ones heart, grace is lost. Acts of charity that achieve the highest good hold us to a much higher standard than benevolence or generosity. To those who have been given much, much is expected.
“I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.” - Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojarhiu). Through her selfless life, Mother Theresa exemplified what it was to be charitable.
I watched a news report after the recent earthquake in Haiti where four men who were homeless and not very talented decided to help their fellow citizens by forming a singing and instrumental group to raise money for the relief effort. Although they lacked musical ability, their enthusiasm and empathy resulted in a desire to give.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill
I recently learned in conversation with an impoverished man who is living on a disability pension of $800 a month that he plans to give money to the Haitian relief effort. He is determined to do what he can financially, even though he is in grave need himself.
What is precious about charity is that it has its beginning in the heart and it is given free of charge.
APRIL 2010 SENIOR LIVING MAGAZINE VANCOUVER AND LOWER MAINLAND
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