I do. Sometimes. Not often.
But sometimes I do.
Today, Good Friday, I reflect on what it might mean to “quit” in the face of purpose, valuable sacrifice, and eternal changemaking.
I believe that we have been given a great example which we are invited to humbly follow.
And to not quit.
For about the 100th time in the last several years, someone recently said to me, “You know, if you had invested your creativity and capacities into personal endeavors instead of into your kids, you would be a multimillionaire by now.”
And the statement—meant as a compliment—just lays there in the space between us.
I never know what to do with it, how to respond to it verbally and emotionally.
And so I don’t.
I have had the joy of meeting people of all walks of life: billionaires, millionaires, the so-called 99% and the 1%, and people in poverty like I could never imagine.
I have been hosted in grand mansions and in homes that barely have a roof—let alone walls—on the hot barren mountains of Guatemala and in the swampy grasslands of Uganda. (Mansions and huts in both locations, by the way, not to mention on ski slopes, vineyard hills, upper east-sides, and ocean- and canal-fronts. Poverty and abundance are present everywhere.)
What I know for sure is that joy is only present in these homes when compassion is also present—in tandem with the treasured privileging of giving. Whether it be a humble cup of tea or a generous check, when I have been in homes that offer something to Other (whether or not that Other is AidChild), peace and hope also dwell in those spaces, those hearts—those homes.
Conversely, when I am in homes that privilege power and Self above Other, no matter the luxury or the comfort, there is a sense of unrest, of longing—of wanting or needing more.
In short, the happiest people I know—whether millionaires or not—are those who are giving.
So many of the people who contribute to AidChild do so out of need, not out of abundance. They take on extra jobs, they have bake-sales—they go without.
While others do it out of abundance, with wisdom, calculation and purpose. There’s no “let-them-eat-cake” here. Instead, there are notions of great care and conviction.
And so, I do not quit. I am neither worthy nor unworthy of the gift of giving.
But I am blessed to have been rescued from the pursuit of self-reward and treasure-building; rescued by this wondrous thing called meaning, and by this tortuous thing called purpose.