Archive for July 6th, 2009

What an enormous magnifier is tradition! How a thing grows in the human memory and in the human imagination, when love, worship, and all that lies in the human heart, is there to encourage it” [Thomas Carlyle].

A few weeks ago my friend, Fran, related an interesting story. The last time she donated blood (which she does regularly), Fran encountered an unusual group of ladies who had arrived at the Red Cross site together. They were laughing and having a good time as they made their way through the donation process. Fran was so intrigued by the good-natured behavior of the women, that she just had to ask what was going on.

It seems the ladies had assembled for a birthday celebration. The guest of honor had requested that her friends meet at the Red Cross site to donate blood, before everyone traveled to a local restaurant to enjoy a birthday meal together. From what I understand, this “act of generosity” is an ongoing tradition among the group.

We learn simply by the exposure of living, and what we learn most natively is the tradition in which we live” [David P. Gardner].

I was so impressed by the group’s benevolence, that I made the decision to adopt this tradition as my own. When my birthday rolled around recently, my husband and I made our own journey to the local Red Cross donation site. In less than an hour, we had worked our way through the registration process, donated blood, and were heading out to enjoy the rest of our day.

While there, I learned that the blood Greg and I donated could potentially save the lives of up to six people. What an awesome feeling it was to give away something that money cannot buy. Blood is something only available as one person gives to another. It’s true what they say, “The need is constant. The gratification is instant.”

The purpose of the story is not necessarily to encourage you to donate blood. (Although, it would be awesome if you did!) Not everyone can give blood, or wants to, for that matter. But there is somewhere or something or some time that you can give. When you stop to think about it, you’ll realize each of us has a stockpile of resources available to share with others. I encourage you to find the method that speaks to you. You could:

  • Care for homeless pets at the local shelter.
  • Plant flowers for an elderly neighbor.
  • Participate in a fund raising “-a-thon.”
  • Mentor: Freely share your knowledge and experience with another.
  • Spend time reading to a child.
  • Donate to a canned food drive.
  • Send a hand-written note of encouragement.
  • Place an unexpected call to a friend or family member.

“What we do for ourselves dies with us.
What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal”

[Albert Pike].

Whether you can donate your time, or your expertise, or your money, (or your blood), don’t miss an opportunity to make a positive impact in the life of another person. I encourage you to make generosity a daily tradition. Be constantly searching for opportunities, big or small, loud or quiet, to impact the masses or an individual, to give. Look for reasons to share a smile, offer a word of encouragement or advice, find ways to make life easier, better, more fulfilling for another.

The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning” [Mitch Albom].

I recently read an email in which the writer closed his message with “Human Kind. Be both.” Such a simple philosophy to live by. Such a powerful way to change the world.

Whatever you are, be a good one!


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