power in words and pictures

Giving out of Your Excess

Giving out of Your Excess

“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures.
The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.” ~Lao Tzu

“For those who don’t know, we save our spare change all year long then combine it and cash it in. Then we pick a restaurant that’s open on Christmas Eve. We started this tradition 5 years ago, our first Christmas without our son.” It’s the post from my friend, Jeanie, about the most recent “gift to the server” she and her husband have pulled off so beautifully. You see, they lost their son, Alex, and he always wanted them to tip their servers well. Since he died, they have given a piece of themselves and their son, by sharing his story, to a server on Christmas Eve. Truly, they are living Tzu’s words — giving to others, having more for themselves because of it.

For most of my life, I have been a gifter. My parents taught me through their example, not through their demands of me or glorifying of themselves, through their simple actions. I also think I’m just wired that way. I love how it feels to help someone, I love how it feels to see someone else smile, and I truly hate how it feels to see someone suffer when they are doing the best they can to survive. It isn’t a political or religious thing, it’s a human thing.

We often get caught up in how to make the biggest impact to help people and get sidetracked from ways that are right in front of us. I talk a lot about personal choices like smiling at people we meet, but we can make personal choices that are just as simple and meaningful that you might not have considered.

  • sharing of the excess you have
  • sharing talents you have
  • sharing kindness that doesn’t need to stay with just one person (you)

Are you overwhelmed by what to do with the excess stuff in your life?

  • Do you have items that have barely been used, clothes that still have tags on them, or gifts you purchased that were never given?
  • Did you upgrade your cookware, computer, or camera?
  • Do you have seeds from the garden that could help someone else start their own garden?

While we all would like to get back some of the money we’ve spent, giving out of our excess is an easy way to impact others.

I go to a coffee shop that gives me a reward when I purchase so many cups of coffee. It doesn’t cost me a thing to share that reward with someone in line who might need a little happy in their day. Choosing to share out of our excess is an act of kindness, but kindness isn’t always a material thing.

As a writer, I have submitted my words freely for more than four years to publications in hopes of giving inspiration and encouragement to those who read my work. I always hope that the ripple effect happens as readers begin to impact the lives around them. I spend a lot of time researching so that my words are more than emotion-packed filler for a page. I have built and maintained websites for groups and beginning businesses without charging because I believe messaging is an important way to reach possible donors and because young people starting their own businesses aren’t always prepared to pay for a site.  I have taken photos of countless people because I believe that a person’s ability to have photos of their children should not depend on their ability to pay for a professional photographer. I share what I believe is a talent in hopes of having a positive impact on others. Have I been taken advantage of in my sharing? Absolutely. Do people always say thank you? Not always, but occasionally. Have I regretted helping people? No.

Do you have a talent?

  • Are you a good reader? Maybe you could share your talent with an elementary classroom.
  • Are you retired from a job with which charities could use help? Carpenters, Accountants, Plumbers, Social Workers, Chefs, Bakers, Logistics — all careers that might find an appreciated home helping others.
  • Could you “teach someone to fish” instead of just giving them a meal?

You can impact others by sharing what you already know how to do well.

With depression, anxiety, and stress at an all-time high, offering what we have to others matters. Look around, and you’ll find therapists, dentists, doctors, and other occupations providing services to those who cannot afford what others have insurance to cover.

You and I, no matter how rich or how poor, have something to offer someone in need. Nothing is more meaningful to the human condition, though, than the love of another human. It costs us little and can be their everything. I’m going to be going through my extras of things I bought ‘just in case’ and start saving my change for Christmas Eve. The thought of giving such a surprise to another person is so exciting! I’m going to stop laying up my treasures, and I’ll encourage you to do the same.

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