Christmas has come and gone. That means that we have gratefully received some nice gifts – often clothes. This also means that a natural consequence is the timeliness of giving away older things that are no longer needed or wanted. This is not bad, but it’s also not sacrificial giving. As I looked over the container in which I put items to donate, I figured there were enough things to say “Yes” when the Viet Vets call came asking for donations. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s painless.

I had collected 31 items:
A pair of shoes, 2 belts, 5 knit shirts, 15 tops, 5 dress shirts, 1 pair of jeans, 1 fleece jacket, and 1 water bottle.

The strange thing I noticed was that only 2 of these items were mine. The rest were things that other family members no longer wanted.

Now I could look at this several ways:

  1. How nice that my message of passing things on was seeping into the consciousness of my family
  2. How sad that I didn’t have many of my own things to add to my collection
  3. Perhaps I had already pruned my possessions enough that I was beyond the obvious choices.

It’s times like this that I make a conscious decision not to give time to figuring out if I’m giving enough, but rather just keep giving. Trying to be too pure and virtuous about the details can tie up my mind’s energy. In these troubled times I need to free my energy to pay attention to the truly major political issues like caring for the poor, healing relationships, and protecting the environment. It’s nice when the “giving away” dimension of my life can go on auto-pilot.

How have you been dealing with feeling like world problems are getting out of control and I don’t know what to do about it?
To paraphrase an old standby: Observe, Pray, Plan, Act.