Waylon Lewis, founder of The Elephant Journal writes:
“Generosity isn’t money. It’s kindness. It’s letting go—and getting back.”
When I was a boy…a long time ago, now, it seems—for these days I’m lost in the busy-ness and joys of my enveloping daily life—when I was a boy, I remember smiling. All the time. I’m sure I had rough days, and sad days, and mad days. But my mom and I had a simple, good, fulfilling life. We were poor—she worked one or two or three jobs, we didn’t have a TV, we didn’t eat the fancy expensive fast cheap food everyone else did, we didn’t have a car, and we lost our house because she couldn’t meet the dreaded, little-understood “Balloon Payment”—but we loved life. There’s a ton of stuff you can do for free, you know? Museums, hikes, planetarium, church (in our case Buddhist programs), movies at the library, reading…and we did it all, together.
One wintertime, we were so broke my mom didn’t have money for Christmas presents. For any kind of Christmas present. I’m not sure how much I cared, then—but I do remember feeling how sad she was about it. That winter we lived on a lot of popcorn and rice. Cheap.
Fast forward 30 years, and I’m finally doing well for myself, and even able to begin to pay back my endless debt to my mother, by helping her out a bit. I’m proud and happy about that. Last winter, locally, I organized a bunch of gift certificates from local generous restaurants (the Kitchen, Shine, and elephant sponsored a few) and we gave meals to single moms and their families. Dads, too, though no one applied. This year, I hope to do the same again.
The point is, I thought you might want to do so, too. All I did was put an announcement out on my Facebook wall, and you can do this too–just say “Hey, if you and your family (or if you know of a family) is a bit hard up, and would love a gift certificate to a restaurant, honor system, private message me.” And then email or call or pop by a restaurant or two and ask for a gift certificate, again on the honor system (it helps to ask restaurants where you’re known). Then, connect the dots.
Because the Holidays aren’t about plastic toys made in unsafe working conditions! They’re about generosity, and coziness, and slowing down, and appreciate this precious, human birth.
Let’s start an unbroken chain of Holiday season kindness!