Those of us who voted did so. Those of us who made the choice to not vote—this wasn’t me, but there were certainly
a myriad of mindful reasons to take this path—also did so.
As a result, this means that while it looks like we’re engaging in a kind of heavy-duty mass resistance (the likes of which I have never seen before in my adult lifetime, and a movement that I applaud), the fact is also this: the deed is done.
I think we can agree, too, that there’s an epic circus of fear and uncertainty swirling around us. And because the
United States is what it is—the most powerful country on the planet—our justified trembling is echoing and rumbling
around the world.
Perhaps, time and love and kindness will bring some healing and reconciliation in the coming months; one can only hope.
But in the meantime, we can all do something that I talked about, but never really did the walk about, until I married
Trust me: taking this action will give us all a little more control and connection, and might even make us feel better.
It’s making the determination to make a monetary offering, which has a host of other names, including charity,
help and assistance.
I first heard about it as a small child in Sunday school, in Hebrew, as Tzedakah (sa-DOCK-a). No matter how it’s sliced,
in modern times, it means the act of voluntarily giving away money.
In that long ago class, this meant turning in loose change. I was too young to question where the coins ended up, but thinking about it now, it wouldn’t surprise me if at least some weren’t handed out later to poorer congregants (which absolutely included our family).
As I grew, I saw that my parents could make ends meet, but I also saw that they could rarely go beyond this boundary. Consequently, our motto was this: charity begins at home. And frankly, that’s how I spent the first half of my adult life. After all, there are always sparkly new things out there; credit card bills to pay down, and I really, really wanted a new car.
I never questioned this way of living, perhaps because I was working in the entertainment industry, and maybe, too, because pretty much everyone I knew operated the same way.
The Hubster has changed this.
When we started dating, I learned that he donated hundreds of dollars every month to the church where we had met (this was also at a time when his business was booming). It made sense: he was recently widowed and after joining the choir there, found a village that provided a safe space of recovery and comfort. It was the right thing to do.
Giving that amount of money hasn’t been in our budget for a long time now.
But in the almost dozen years we’ve been a couple, we’ve continued to do our best to do good in a monetary way, even when our giving has been small.
Because really, the amount of these offerings isn’t the point.
What does count is simply the act itself—as well as choosing a cause that speaks to your heart.
Keeping this in mind, we don’t jump around from charity to charity. Rather, we stick to one or two organizations, and then support them for at least six months—often longer. With this template, we’ve been able to connect to whatever the group is trying to accomplish, as well as feel invested in its success.
At the same time, we choose organizations which match our values and life experience.
To that end, and for many years, we gave $20 every month to All Girls Allowed (www.allgirlsallowed.org), a small but mighty non-profit founded by Tiananmen Square leader and two-time Nobel Prize nominee Chai Ling. Working on the ground in China, AGA lets the rest of the world know about the many millions of baby girls who are “lost” very single year to forced late-term abortions, abandonment and gendercide. In a place where females are considered to be less than males in every way, AGA also supports infant girls and their mothers, both emotionally and materially.
Given that our daughter could have easily been part of this awful scenario, donating to AGA just made sense.
Most recently, we’ve been supporting another non-profit.
It’s Pets for Vets (www.petsforvets.com), an organization that matches shelter dogs with veterans who suffer from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, depression and anxiety. Founded by animal trainer Clarissa Black (who has a B.A. in Animal Science and a master’s degree in Anthrozoology), Black first became aware of the calming effect that dogs have on vets when she worked at a Veterans Affairs hospital in California.
Also knowing that millions of canines end up in shelters each year, Black then came up with a brilliant idea: why not find homes for these abandoned dogs with some of these vets, bringing comfort and healing to both? Given how much love we’ve received from our own rescue dogs, and also wanting to help the true heroes of our country beyond a bumper sticker, Pets for Vets is absolutely our kind of group. (Get some Kleenex, then watch its direct impact on clients here, at www.yahoo.com/news/video/shelter-dogs-helping-u-veterans-150022938.html.)
Finally, here’s the funny thing about giving away money.
Doing it makes us feel good.
Maybe that’s because, in its own small way, these offerings make us realize that it is possible to make an impact on a corner of a corner of a corner of the world—and that when we do, we still have each other’s backs.
And in this most unusual of times, that’s A Very Good Thing.
What are your thoughts on the act of giving? I look forward to your comments and stories!
P.S. Thinking of supporting a charitable organization, but don’t know where to start? Begin with www.charitynavigator.org.