Today I am thinking about gifts.
I fear the very concept of 'gift' is in peril.
I have been thinking about giving gifts and gift giving in general. We really only know we are alive, truly alive, when we give and accept. Without coercion.
The giving heart seems to be part of what it means to be fully human. We are programmed to give, to offer... accepting is more difficult though. Remember how you felt when you received that unexpected kindness - that special gift... humbled, surprised, thankful, noticed, singled out, uncomfortable even... .
Today, I gave a ride to someone who needed help. I felt good - glad to do it. The person seemed so surprised though - that anyone would go out of their way to do something for them - reluctant to accept and at the same time very glad to be helped.
This led me to muse about giving and then about poverty ... the lack of something ....
In current culture poverty is being gradually redefined. Poverty is now applied to all areas of human existence. Here is a list I found that is like many others:
There are seven poverties that are affecting us:
Economic poverty: lack of food, clothing and shelter
Bodily poverty: lack of health and hygiene, malnutrition
Mental poverty: lack of thinking and education
Cultural poverty: lack of cultural activities and practices
Spiritual poverty: lack of mental peace and feeling of brotherhood
Political poverty: not casting one’s vote, lack of development
Societal poverty: lack of unity and neighborliness
Bhagavatula Charitable Trust © 2006
Public policy and people of good will are moving us in the direction of a 'just' society, one that will guarantee the right to alleviation of every kind of poverty. This is a noble goal.
We do want all to lack nothing - to have enough.
But, there are consequences to every action, and often these consequences are unintended.
Let us assume that we have achieved this goal. Our 'just' society has decided that freedom from all kinds of poverty is a simple human right. This is good.
Even better, we have found ways for our 'just' society to guarantee these rights to all.
The unintended consequence of this achievement, noble in intent, is that giving becomes unnecessary - even frowned upon. We cannot give something to someone who is entitled to it. We cannot receive something as a gift if we are entitled to it.
So now a wall has been inserted between human beings, between the giver and the receiver. The very laudable goal to stop every kind of poverty - to fashion a more human and 'just' society has eradicated the only real connection between human beings - gift and reception.
A child's, "Can you tell me a story?" becomes, "It's story time."
So, I give these musings to you while I am still allowed to give.
The best colour for today is Titanium White.