Charity, in practice, is generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless. It is benevolent giving and caring. I believe that charity is the contribution of ourselves and/or our resources to others in need; but, how do we do it when we have no more resources to give; what do can we do?
Perhaps, it is really a mind shift we need to make. Sometimes, the focus is on what monies people can give, which is probably the easiest thing to do because then people do not have to think about or reflect on the helplessness of others. People can pacify their guilt by contributing money to a worthy cause and feel relief that they did their part. How does that truly lift people in need? It certainly may take care of the immediate needs like food, water and medical attention to the destitute; but, what about the long-term? How does money alone really help them?
Charity, in virtue, is giving unlimited love and kindness. Charity, ideally, is giving of your whole self, your heart and your time. It is making others feel valued and empowered. It is a helping hand that lifts the soul and spirit of those who feel helpless. It is lifting the spirits of the sick and the poor. It is giving them hope and compassion. It is spending time with the homeless and the sick. It is sitting with people and listening. It is being completely present for them.
Charity also needs to begin with one’s self. You need to help yourself first and nurture your own heart before you can help others. An empty vessel cannot fill another’s cup. Once your own heart and soul is filled, then you can truly give of yourself to others. How does one fill his or her own’s heart and soul? That is a question people need to ask themselves. Start with what brings you bliss, peace and/or joy. It may be writing poetry, walking outdoors in nature, quietly meditating and praying, painting and creating crafts, interacting with other people or pets, or any activity that brings you bliss.
Perhaps some of the things that bring you joy is something you can share with others in charitable work, like sharing your poetry with a community of elderly or children or doing crafts with terminally ill patients in a hospice. Consider who you are and how you feel when you are at your best. Maybe you are a fabulous grant-writer or fundraiser, marketing specialist or web designer. These are wonderful gifts to share with a charitable organization. Ultimately, charity is of the heart, not necessarily the wallet. What can you give to others?
- QOTW: Charity can be toxic (messymiddle.wordpress.com)
- BIG NEWS: How to Spread Your Charitable Influence (allthingsfadra.com)
- Better Ways To Give It Away: Philanthropy 2.0 (fastcompany.com)