giving when asked directly

All the end of year requests for donations, the poor and/or homeless folks on the street, friends or family in trouble. Am I the only one who finds these requests overwhelming and burdensome?

I think not.

Once, I took on the practice of simply giving to everyone that asked me for a full week (but not at the end of the year). Every person on the street, every letter in the mail or ask on FB. And I felt terrific. But why?

I want to say purely from the act of giving. But it wouldn’t be true. It was more because I didn’t have to make a critical decision– to give or not to give? I’d also predetermined the amount I would give, so I was saved from another stressful decision — how much to give.

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. What a tough topic, I can not wait to hear more on this. I always feel stuck between giving so much or saving for my family.

    • Thanks for your honesty. It’s a difficult balance, and your equation brings up other fundamental questions:
      At what point is there enough for our families?
      How do we gracefully manage and balance taking care of “us” and “them”?
      Why is us/them our orientation?
      These questions (among others) we each need to answer to practice mindful giving.

  2. Perfect conversation to begin. I love the example of the Portland doctor who decided to give away $100 a day directly to someone she met– then she blogged about the experience. This year I wrote in my year end review that I’d failed to give generously to charity, then remembered the $2000 I gave to my housekeeper to help her brother who was crippled in a car accident in Mexico, and the hours spent with two dear ones, one who is dying and the other had surgery, oh, and then there is the 27 year ex-convict that we have adopted, are supporting, and love dearly. A month ago he broke his leg and we ended up spending days in the hospital, and weeks bringing him food and taking him to appointments. Yet when I went to contribute to the Oregon Cultural Trust we hadn’t given enough to approved charities to qualify for the $500 credit. And I felt bad, like I was being stingy and cheap. Yikes!

    • You bring up a significant point here beyond, when is it enough; we all have the capacity to give in 3 ways: time, money, and energy. I’ll be blogging on this one very soon. Ironic that you gave at all 3 levels — time, money and energy and still felt “bad”, “stingy”, “cheap.”

      “Approved charities,” another juicy topic!

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