It is with a very humble heart that I write, today. Recent reflections on my life have made me realize that I have a lot to give others, so that they do not feel alone in their challenges in life. For this I am grateful. When I tell my story, people walk away shaking their heads. Not in shame or amazement, but that through many challenges in life one can still manage to see the positive in the world and link it to their own personal abundance and still feel the need to give. Does this make me this amazing star of a person? I am just like you! We are all stars, but, at times, need help to realize the “salt of the earth” souls that we are.
When I was growing up, I went to Catholic school. I was exposed to the stories about work of the missionaries in less fortunate lands. I was mesmerized by their stories. I collected money that was found in the laundry or extra change my parents would give to me. I would save it and send it to the missionaries, when I had the opportunity. In my small world, at the age of 8, I felt that I helped the starving children who had no beds or food. I knew it was never enough, but needed to feel that I helped another child have dinner that night.
Frequently, I would try to imagine myself in the life of those suffering children. When my mother cooked rice, I pretended what it would be like to only be allowed to eat a few grains of rice for dinner. It was a bit difficult, as my parents urged us to clean our plates full of food! My dad frequently preached that he worked hard for the wages that put food on our table; and, the least we could do is eat the food our mother took time to cook. The message was received. They never talked about the starving children in China or India, as some parents did; but, they didn’t have to. I was keenly aware at the innocent age of 8. My siblings, 5 & 6 were not quite aware of the world outside of coloring books and drawing letters to write their name, but, I understood my dad’s message loud and clear. I kept thinking, what about the kids in those countries? How could I help them?
Fast forwarding 49 years, I have raised three children and watch my four grandchildren grow. Many messages have been given to me by our Creator and the elders of my time. I listened intently and have come to realize that, while I have never been abroad, I have helped people in small ways along my life journey. I didn’t always have the money to give big, but gave something. I gave my time to those who needed it. I have lived a good life, despite many challenges – none of which could compare to those who suffer from hunger. I have suffered hunger for a short time in my life, when I was poor (by an American standard) with children, and never want that for anyone. My story is for another time, however.
I can hear some of you saying, “well get to the point, Kat!” Patience, my dear type A people!! Yes, I used to embrace that personality, as well.
When my children were in their 20’s, I would hear the woes of not having enough money for this or that. Granted, they were not kids who wanted Nike shoes or the latest trendy fashions. We lived well, without the fluffy lifestyle that comes with living in our particular area. My mantra to my children was that someone always had it worse and, if you have a roof over your head and food in your belly you were blessed. To this day, my children live by this. I feel blessed that they live humble lives and embrace that others have needs far surpassing their own. We have chosen this in my family, not for fame, but for living our beliefs to care for our fellow humankind and creatures of the earth.
Giving is not always shelling out money (that is easy and disconnects one from nature). Generosity is learning to live a humble lifestyle, giving when you can, giving your time, lending an ear, your written word, giving a glimmer of hope and faith, and…teaching our youth to do the same.
Mother Teresa said to give to the poor, and when it hurts give a little more. This Thanksgiving season, won’t you live by these words and provide someone with a meal, some of your time or just take time to listen to their woes? Give thanks for the abundances you are given, for it is in giving that we can only truly consider our blessings.
Thank you for each and every soul on this planet, for you are a very special pearl in the eyes of our Creator and to those who live in your presence.
May the peace of your hearts dwell in your stride and sing in your speech during this season of abundance and thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friends.