One of my earlies memories of giving is my mother volunteering at bingo on behalf of a community organization. I also have vivid memories of going on shopping trips with some of our community’s most joyous citizens, folks who are developmentally disabled (or abled in other ways). We bowled with them and did projects with them at the Sunshine Centre.
I felt lucky to be included in these activities throughout the rest of my childhood and I found myself developing friendships with many of these folks. This experience has been more of a benefit to me than them, I am sure, as these relationships have facilitated learning about unconditional love, pure joy, and being in a world somewhat isolated by social or cultural imperatives, which is how they lived from day to day. These experiences imprinted on me so strongly that I knew I had to be in a position to help people.
For most of my adult life I have worked in the non-profit sector. While that is not my legacy, what I deem most significant, are the extra moments I have come in contact with someone who was truly grateful for something I personally did to assist them or enhance their experience in the world.
You’ve heard these moments referred to as “simple acts of kindness”. I have always tried to take that a step further. I want to act in a way that creates positive change in a sustainable way. I subscribe to the “teach a man to fish. . .” theory. And sometimes, enacting the theory is more complicated than it seems. It is amazing how many barriers exist in the world. . . maybe there is no way to find a clean fishing hole, or the pole you provide keeps getting stolen. You get my drift.
I guess I really find joy in being a “barrier-buster”. I used to tell my children things like “there is no problem too great that can’t be solved”. Ah, the good old days of simplified beliefs. These days, I tackle the easier barriers and the others I leave to a higher power, while always remembering the joy and unconditional love extended and shared by those who are “barrier-busters” by simply being.