Walking into the grocery store, a young boy asks if I can spare a dollar for the Some-Name-I-Didn't-Catch Charity. Walking out of the store, I was asked the same thing by another little boy who was standing next to a sweet little girl. I had an extra dollar, so I put it in.
But, then, the same thing happened at every single store/restaurant/gas station/business establishment I either entered, exited, or browsed through. At work we did a thing for 3 weeks called the Giving Tree which is an Angel Tree but without proprietary restrictions. During that time, every manager on every shift guilted the servers out of the few dollars we happened to earn to give to a bucket for others. I gave, but I must admit I did so begrudgingly. We were also supposed to ask every customer at every table if they would like to give to the fund, and then explain it would go to small children who wouldn't have a Christmas otherwise. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't go that far.
I'm all for tapping into the essence of the Winter season that brings us together and calls us to charity, but I cannot fathom why, oh dear Heavens why, do all the different charities and organizations feel they need to berate us with the constant giving? And the pressure to give gifts to everyone you know and everyone everyone else knows is infuriating! I hadn't planned on getting my pseudo-brother-in-law's girlfriend a present, but lo and behold she gave me one last night. A present that was more expensive than anything I'd bought for any member of my family, and I'm flabbergasted, because I'm now consumed with what to get her in return.
I read something funny in an email my father sent to me that said, "Can we all just agree to boycott whatever format comes after blu-ray, because I'm really getting tired of updating my media collection." I'm not going to advocate abstaining from giving what you can to the charity or cause of your choice, but can't we come to a day where the rampant capitalism doesn't also have to infect our charitable nature? If I want to give a monetary donation, or a few hours of my time, or a gift, or whatever, I want to do it because I want to do it, not because I'll feel terrible if I don't. So, can we just agree to limit the amount that we ask of one another, the amount we expect from one another? It's been a really hard year, and I'm a little...ticked...that charitable organizations are beating us - who already are living hand to mouth - over the head with images of people begging for what little money I happen to scrape together.
This isn't pretty; it's actually a bit terrible, but it's honest. And, sometimes, those honest things need to be voiced in order to get them out of your head, in order to weigh and measure them and find their validity. Who's with me?
And...if you are...can you give to me, too?
Love and Lyte,