In December, 2013, I wrote about giving of your time and talent, and in December, 2014, I wrote about giving of your money in creative ways. This December I will discuss how you can give of yourself in ways that can change lives. Alluding to the quote above, the simple act of kindness can be powerful both for yourself and for the fortunate recipient who receives your kindness.
I heard a lovely children’s story at church this morning. A mother took her young son with her to visit a homeless shelter. Once there, she was skeptical as to whether or not this was a good idea. The place was dreary and sad. Did her son really need to see this seedier side of life? A few of the young children living there were in awe of her son. They just wanted to touch him. He was radiant in their eyes. Later, her son said of that day, “Mom, I feel so lucky.” She assumed he was talking about all of the toys and games he possessed compared to the homeless children who had nothing. To her surprise, he stated the reason he felt so lucky was because he was able to have the experience of touching the lives of other children. Her son’s kindness towards the less fortunate children not only enriched their lives, but also greatly enriched his. He learned the power of giving that day.
Our world is fraught with the horrors of evil. I am writing this at the time when ISIS is annihilating innocent human beings in cold blood. People are terrified for their own safety. In grave times such as we are living in, how can we – you and I – make a positive difference? We can do so by not losing sight of all we have to be grateful for and by reaching out to others who need to be comforted. It’s all about the individual focusing on the needs of others rather than on themselves.
The power of giving comes from a selfless act – where you simply give from your heart. This act of giving is not tied to any special event, holiday or celebration. It is merely a time when you give from your heart because you want to share what you have, show your appreciation and sincerely care for the ones you are giving to. You should not give with the expectation of receiving something back in return. You should give because you want to.
There are so many ways that you can give. It may be donating money, volunteering your time to a worthy cause, or lending a helping hand or a smile to someone in need. Fairly recently, someone paid me the highest compliment for something that happened several years ago. This person remembered me over all the years because I smiled at him at a time when he was hurting. He said my smile was like sunshine in his life at that moment. I apparently showed him kindness when others turned their backs. That compliment served as a huge reward to me.
I end with my featured hero of the month. It is Marie Smith. I’ve known Marie since I came to San Antonio in 1985. I transferred my membership in Junior League from El Paso to San Antonio and she was an active member, soon to be League President. I have always known Marie as a person with a servant’s heart. She lives to give with total dedication. Here is a short list of Marie’s accomplishments:
- Founding Board Member and Past President of Respite Care of San Antonio
- First Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation San Antonio Affiliate
- Cancer Center Council Member and Book & Author Luncheon Chair for CTRC
- Executive Director of Alamo Heights School Foundation
- President and Board Member of the Junior League of San Antonio, Inc.
Most noteworthy is what she is doing today. Marie serves as Chair of San Antonio Area Foundation, an organization that exemplifies what her life is predicated on – serving others. The Foundation’s mission is to help donors achieve their charitable goals for the greater benefit of the community. Marie, always with a beautiful smile on her face and a heart overflowing with love, is a perfect example of how powerful the art of giving can be. I’ve no doubt that Marie will agree that she has been rewarded a thousand-fold over the years, for her efforts to serve others.