I asked my friend Cyrus, who has started a movement called the Become a Human Project to be our guest blogger for the week and he gladly took on the task. Cyrus has traveled all over Central and South America for the last 6 weeks encouraging ongoing conversation about what it means to be human and inspire people to use their passions and gifts for good. I hope you enjoy his post as much as I did, but most importantly I hope you find what your “gift of giving” is.
What happens when we give, especially when we give because we know it is in our heart to give? Something happens, I don’t think anyone will argue that. The difficulty comes when we try to understand what this gift is we receive from giving.
During my last two months of traveling my perspective on the subject of ‘change’ has been challenged, and with the challenge came many questions about giving… how should someone give, when should someone give, and even what can we give? Since I began this trip, I rarely have more to give other than my time, talents, or friendship. Everything I have fits into my backpack; and when it comes to giving money, I think it needs to be done wisely in order not to create dependence. Yet in many of my experiences and conversations, I have constantly been reminded that everyone has something to give.
More and more I feel that in my giving I find myself on the receiving end, instead of simply being the giver. Even though many of the people I have been blessed to meet have no shoes, no electricity, or no proper place to use the restroom, most of them realize that they all have something to give, and give from whatever they have.
The trick then is understanding what you have to give, and how you should give it. We have so much more to give than we realize, and many of us are fully aware of how much we could give yet we don’t. But what if the challenge wasn’t to give in order to meet the physical needs of others? Because in my experiences I do not believe my perspective on giving has truly challenge me to understand the humanity we share. Instead, what if the goal was to fully know what you are giving to, and to express the love that inspired it… That’s where the giving becomes the gift. It should be much more than a watered down philanthropic idea of “giving” or “supporting”. Instead, giving should become, or remain, more about love, care, compassion, and understanding.
Understanding giving doesn’t mean you have to go to the place to meet the people receiving your gift, or that you can’t donate to a person or a cause you’ve just met. I believe giving should be as meaningful as receiving, and that is what I hope to explain. When we give, let’s not give without emotion, or assume we know what other people need. Let us pursue the gift that comes from giving, the gift given in full understanding that those receiving the gifts are just as much human as you and I, the gift that has the potential to truly change people because it was done with intentions founded in love, and the gift that tells people just how valuable they are.
We will probably never know the extent of our influence, especially when we give gifts to people we haven’t met. I do not write to discourage people from being generous, but it is my hope that we pursue the gift that comes from giving, and that we invite other people to experience what we discover. How? We start with the desire to know why it feels good to be generous and to question what giving should look like. It is my hope that we don’t limit what giving might look like, but instead we pursue all the possibilities of what giving could look like. Remember, giving is not made possible because there is a need. Giving is made possible because we all have something to give, that’s the gift.