I’ve been thinking about charity lately, probably because we have been the recipient of a good dose of it in various forms. On top of that I’m currently reading The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness by Mark Ian Barasch and chapter three ends with some lovely thoughts about charity. To me, charity has several facets which make it shine brilliantly.
Charity is definitely about giving to those in need and we have certainly been in need and received much! All those who donated money to us at the Brian D. Lawson Benefit Rally showed incredible generosity and have helped make it possible for me to care for Brian in the way that would not have been possible otherwise. Hope Hospice and Agape Hospice have provided for every medical need without cost to us. I cannot fathom what the cost is for doctors, nurses, a hospital bed, oxygen, medical supplies, and medications required to keep Brian comfortable. Charity of this kind is obviously appreciated and I’ll be saying my thank yous for years to come.
That feeling you get toward someone in need or a person who is suffering in some way is another form of charity. We see the tears in the eyes of those who visit. We hear the shaky voices that attempt to hold back emotion. We read the words of love and encouragement from those we have never met and those we love so dearly. Charity of this kind is not tangible, can’t be put on a shelf or tucked away in a box. However, it is very real and we feel it deeply. It makes it easier to go through each day and it has incredible and lasting value.
I’m not sure if, prior to this experience, I would have thought of charity in this final way: looking at others with understanding and tolerance. I’ve looked at people and situations and rolled my eyes in judgment, wondering why others can’t be more like me. I’ve been critical of other wives, mothers, daughters, and friends. Now I have a much more lenient and patient way of thinking. I still have my opinions, of course, but I’m starting to look at experiences through new lenses. I’m attempting to see new points of view and walk that mile in someone else’s shoes. My favorite book of all time is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Atticus Finch is a character I love and admire. One of the famous quotes from that beautiful tale rings true: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” That, my friends, is charity, and…
Charity = Joy