Why Giving Well is Living Well


Shortbread Christmas cookies for cups

Several years ago, before I shifted from being an employee to focusing on my writing, I was a development officer, also known as a fundraiser. One of the most fulfilling parts of the job was getting to know my donors—not their capacity for giving, because I quickly learned that most people want to give, to be a blessing—but learning why giving back was important to them.

These were generous people and it was an honor to get to know them and their families. I loved hearing their stories because I realized that few of the benefactors that I met came from enormous wealth; it was just that they had an enormous inclination to share their blessings with others. And the gifts were not always monetary, some gave time, some gave lectures or internship advice, others hosted events. Part of being creative about giving is recognizing that it is not always necessary to write a check to serve others. If you can, that is great, but all of us have some unique gift we can share with the world. Continue reading

An Exchange

I met my friend Tina for our annual exchange of Christmas gifts; we meet at Frisch’s, not for the food, but for the convenience and tradition. Instead of mailing packages back and forth, we wait until I travel back home, meet over a meal and exchange our gifts.  

We use these meals to work out the issues in our lives, and as we’ve gotten older, the topics are different from when we were in our twenties and thirties. I ask about her daughter, if the insurance company has finally approved the motorized wheelchair she needs to get around. I share my friend’s frustration, irritated with an insurance system that makes arbitrary decisions based on formulas rather than common sense or concern for the patient’s needs.  Continue reading