“If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it.” ― Stephen Colbert
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed” Mahatma Gandhi
Spring is here. The earth is balanced on its fulcrum. Balanced like Lady Justice’s scale of truth and fairness. But, what I observe going on around me is the opposite.
I listen to the news bytes of truths and lies; watch graphic fear grabbing images; and read my e-mail of another friend without a job. I conclude humanity is stumbling - losing their balance of reason. Okay, I’ll be frank I feel my country has lost its balance. We’re running in terror like characters in one of those zombie movies. We’re buying up and hunkering down with our hoards for some long term apocalypse of scarcity. Generosity and neighborliness has been thrown out the window. The reinforcement of the old rules of oppression, exploitation and taking away of rights are what’s vogue as a mechanism to get what you don’t have. It feels like a children’s game is regaining popularity. You remember it: “Like Hell I’ll Share – Now Give Me Yours or Else.” (The game involves a lot of pushing, shoving and bloody noses. Oh – and hurt feelings. And as long as you don’t get caught you won’t get punished.)
It’s hard not to be sucked into this cultural vortex of scarcity. It’s hard to swim against the current following what the great teachers taught about living peaceful in community:
- Maat called the rich to help the less fortunate rather than exploit them, echoed in tomb declarations: "I have given bread to the hungry and clothed the naked" and "I was a husband to the widow and father to the orphan.”
- Goddess Brigit was known for her generosity of feeding the birds, animals and the poor.
- Jesus: "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in."
- Bukhari Volume 7, Book 64, Number 265: Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, "The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah's Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day."
I’ve spent the better part of the week trying to figure out how to resolve this dilemma. How as a spiritual person can I change this or at least transform this fear into something else? It came to me while I was thinking about what type of cake I was going to bake: Paying it forward by showing the world some kindness.
I believe the only way we can turn this fear around is stop focusing on ourselves and what we don’t have. We need to begin asking the question how can share what I’ve been blessed with - with you? This concept of sharing should be about creating happiness in someone else’s life without the thought of “What am I going to get out of it?”
The cake isn’t for me or my family. I’m donating it to my school system in support of the music and theater department. My city schools have had a cake walk for over 63 years. The community comes out in full support buying tickets in order to play musical chairs. And, it’s all done on a volunteer basis including donations of many cakes. People do it out of generosity or paying it forward.
As a CCWWW, I believe we all are connected through Motherfather Spirit. Thus the statement: “what you do to others will be returned three fold” I try to keep it at the front and center of my actions. If I don’t share, how can I eat without thinking of those who are hungry? That cake I’m sharing? In a small way, it’s a thank you to those who shared when I was in school. My music program flourished under many parents freely giving.
The remainder of the week I tried an experiment of such. It was sort of like that Liberty Mutual commercial. Opening doors and smiling people on the street, but with a CCWWW twist.
I went to a Celtic women’s spiritual retreat several years ago. We read about the spiritual practice of blessing and saying thank you to the land, plant and animals. This practice was done before each a chore, hanging up your coat, milking a cow, or piecing together a quilt. It was a natural way to see and experience Motherfather Spirit in everything and in the ordinary of life. We spent the day doing this. As the lunch lady served my meal, I said thank you and thought of it as a blessing. This was the twist.
I began carrying out my Liberty Mutual experiment. When I made my cake – I thought of all the people who helped me. I thought of just being able to play it forward.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever does." - Margaret Mead
Pay it forward activities
- Go through outgrown children’s toys and leave them on the doorstep of another child’s house.
- Bake some cookies and share them with your neighbor.
- Bring in a bag of chocolates to share at the water cooler area.
- Smile and a passing stranger on the street.
- Thank someone for opening to door for you.
- Buy the person in line behind you a cup of coffee. (This has happened to me)
- Share flowers with a co-worker.
- Collect the soap at the hotel and give it to a domestic violence shelter or men’s shelter.
- Go through your old towels and give them to an animal shelter.
- Buy 5 cans of vegies and give to a local food pantry.
- Earth Day is coming up – are you signed up to help pick up trash around your block?
- Have leftovers from a party or a big gathering? Share it with a homeless shelter.