108. These folks make a difference.

Last week we talked about The Habit of Selfless Giving and our discussion unleashed a barrage of emails and phone calls, each to tell me of a very special person who, in the eyes of the caller or writer, is the embodiment of this important habit.

I believe I have received more responses from this blog than from any of the almost of 400 I have written over the years.

I have learned of so many people whose devotion to easing the pain of others, or help make the lives of others a little easier or who simply help to put a smile on the faces of those who have little to smile about is not only heartwarming but in these times, when we are told almost daily of the many acts of evil perpetuated around the world, serve as an important counterweight to remind us that our world is indeed filled with many, many wonderful people.

A proud granddaughter told me of the wonderful grandparents who, while both working full time, and raising three “overachieving kids, including my dad”, each donated upwards of 20 hours each week by volunteering their time and talents at the local hospital, at the church, at a senior’s facility and a community soup kitchen.

Her parents do the same and she proudly carries on the family tradition.

There was the delighted mom who told me of her nine-year-old daughter who taught several of her friends to sew. These young girls get together two or three times each week to make dresses and send them to young girls in faraway impoverished countries who can only dream of ever owning a brand-new, pretty dress.

Her daughter chose to forgo a birthday party and instead asked friends to donate fabric so she and her team could increase their production.

A young man, boasted of his sister, a teacher, who, at her own expense, travels to a distant South American country every summer to help build homes for the homeless and invites children of new immigrants into her home and helps them learn to read.

I learned of a young couple, both with full-time jobs, who donate one of their salaries to help support an international outreach program conducted by their church and spend their vacation in the field as outreach volunteers.

I read of young man who gave 25% of an $80,000 inheritance to each of three people from low income homes in his city so that all four of them could enjoy the benefits of a university education.

Each story told of the spirit of a wonderful person or people who found enormous reward in serving others and who spoke of the endless joy that is the reward of selfless giving.

If there is a common theme among these magnanimous heroes and is that none of them had any expectation of reward in return for their and selfless devotion to others.

We all have the opportunity of serving others be it through the donation of our time, our resources or our assets.

We don’t all take the time, as part of our life’s habits, to selflessly give and the lesson I have learned from this busy week of reading emails and talking on the phone is that by not doing so we deny ourselves the marvellous opportunity to enrich our lives in ways you can barely imagine.

The Habit of Selfless Giving. I’m trying in my own small way to become a better practitioner.

Let’s do this together.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.

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