Thursday, December 07, 2006

The clothes on my back



"All you own are the clothes on your back." Father Michael said during the Homily a few weeks back. "Everything in your closet belongs to those less fortunate." He was speaking about the life and words of Saint John Chrysostom who lived a modest life and gave a large portion of all he had to the needy; and Saint Paul's second letter to the Corinthians 9:6-11 which says: 'he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly . . . "
I started thinking about all the stuff I have . . . stuff that I keep 'just in case.' I felt greedy and selfish having so many extra things, especially clothes, coats and blankets packed away when so many people are in need of those things to keep warm during these brutal winter months. (As I wrote in my very first blog here, I have trouble cleaning out my closet.)
Then, a few days ago, I learned of the fire that destroyed a Saint Vincent de Paul warehouse, and at a time of year when so many people depend on it. Channel seven news announced that they were having an emergency donation drive all day Wednesday to be held at Lawrence Tech. Well, that's all it took - a reason beyond any excuse and a deadline. I have always worked better under the pressures of deadlines.
It took me less than two hours to come up with ten bags along with some other miscellaneous items. My son and I loaded two cars (not mine - it's still kaput) and we drove over to Southfield, waited in the long line of cars. So many people brought donations. As we pulled up and parked, young volunteers helped us transfer the bags and boxes into huge Art Van trucks. The snow was gently falling and sparkling under the lights that illuminated the parking lot. I felt the true meaning of Christmas.
I felt lighter . . . my closet, my home, my heart, my spirit.
I did not post this for anyone to comment on how great it was of me to do this. This was nothing, but helpful to me as much as to those who need help. I posted this in the hope that someone reading it may be inspired to do the same. Give what you can. Give what you have that is not of immediate need to you. Give the best, not your leftovers.
Countdown to Christmas . . . 18 days!
God Bless Everyone.

5 comments:

Stewart Sternberg said...

pOne of the non profits I worked for always got a lot of donations around Christmas. One thing that started showing up though were people donating for tax purposes. I remember one fellow bringing an old stereo around and then attempting to cajol me into writing a receipt that would have been more than the thing cost when it was new.

It's funny.

Each year there is a new sexy cause or issue. When I was in youth services I watched as one year it was runaways, then teen pregnancy, then AIDS, etc. Each year the focus changed just a little and the charities hustled to get behind the new and exciting issue that would bring in money.

I suppose I sound cynical.

Remember the thousand points of light?

Pythia3 said...

I understand what you are saying - and that is the biggest reason many people turn away from doing charitable things; and turn away from healthy approaches to life - look at all the vitamin and alternative healing fads; and turn away from GOD and spirituality because of the fundamentalists; and back down from many good causes both political and ethical because of extremist views.
Again, the motto I live by:
It's not WHAT you do or THAT you do - it is HOW you do it - the intention that manifests into the action of DOING.
I always do what feels right to ME regardless of how I look to others or what the consensus dictates.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Lindy,

I loved this post! I think that getting rid of things is extremely helpful -- one of the most important books I've ever read is How To Clear Your Clutter With Feng-Shui. It sounds bizarre, but this book helped me out of a terrible situation and gave me perspective on my life -- all my getting rid of things. And if it goes to a good cause, all the better! I'm not cynical about helping those in need because it does help the giver as much as the receiver and it doesn't really matter what happens in the end, the positive energy in the world is far better than negative.

Laura said...

Such a nice thing to do. And it helps you out to. You get a nice neat and clean closet and some poor unfortunate souls get the benefit from your donations.

Jon said...

Each year I open wide the doors and invite a dozen needy people to come in and take what they need.

One of these years I'll do it at my own house.