This post is the first in our "Why I Give" series, in which we celebrate the joy of giving back.
I first learned about giving something away on Sunday mornings when my grandmother Annie placed a quarter in my church handkerchief, tied it in a knot and instructed me to open my purse and place it inside. When the collection plate passed across my lap during service, I would proudly put my unwrapped quarter in, and I remember feeling like I was a part of something. In fact, my cousin and I would have a fight over who could drop their quarter in the plate faster.
As the music played and the choir sang, and the congregation tapped its feet and clapped its hands and we joined together to give, this memory made a powerful and indelible mark on my life. From stained glass windows, to new roofs and organs, my grandmother’s church sacrificed for what they believed in, and, because they gave, many children had an opportunity to go to summer camps, vacation bible school, after school programs, and even received college scholarships in a building that still stands today.
So, it is because of these sacrificial Sundays, and many other acts of generosity I witnessed over the years from a fairly simple soul named Annie, that I have never believed that anything that I actually had in this life was not meant to be shared in some way. I think I started to figure out I’d adopted this philosophy as I became older and realized that I was always the person that overdid it a little Christmastime, or sought out tough causes to use my life to fight for. Because I believe that to whom much is given, much is expected, giving back to the universe that has bestowed blessings upon you is inherent to the human spirit. You owe the world your gift, whatever that might be, what you might have to spare.
So as we think of the gifts we have to share this season, and the needs that we cannot conquer alone, considering why it is important to give back in our lives is essential to living. Give freely, without expectations, but only with love.
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”- Pablo Picasso