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Thursday, June 2, 2011

The gift of giving

Giving is an act, which so many of us don't see as a gift but rather as a duty, a strategy of exchanging, or a quick way of getting rid of things we no longer want or need. Yet, there is a form of giving that is really a gift, and Winston, an old friend of mine, recently provided a good example of that.

Winston had heard from his coworker George that he (George) had a neighbor who was experiencing some hardship. The man had lost his house, job, and would soon also have to give up his car. George told Winston that he had temporarily granted this neighbor a room in his own place, even though he was not too happy with the situation. The neighbor had not exactly lived the most righteous life, and was greatly responsible for the troubles he was now experiencing.

Winston did not know George's unfortunate neighbor, but as he was contemplating about the plight of this man, his heart went out to him. He remembered an old saying he had seen somewhere: "Hodi Mihi – Kras Tibi" (Today it's me, tomorrow you). He realized that life is full of unpredictable surprises, and that it’s not up to us to judge others. So, Winston went to the store for a good packet of groceries, and handed it to George the next day, requesting for George to give this to the unfortunate neighbor. When George wanted to thank him, Winston shook his head and said, "I wish we could all understand the importance of giving without expecting anything in return. I consider this an honor, and I know the universe will make a note of it."  

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