The act of giving.
Something happened in my life recently where I revisited what it meant to give.
Does it mean an act of service? Time? Skill? Which is better than the other? What matters more? The heart behind it or the effectiveness? Is it a case by case basis? Is giving to your family or friend any less meaningful than let's say, giving to a stranger in a lower income neighborhood? Is a person who donates a million dollars to a charity in Africa a more generous person than a person who spends their free time at a children's hospital connecting with a handful kids?
Tonight, in a conversation among loving friends of many shared experiences and bridges, we spoke of the the different levels of involvement (ranging from misguided slacktivism to involvement that produces hard results) in the Asian American community. The conversation was heading towards the direction of being jaded by and criticizing those who aren't doing anything or those who think they are doing something but aren't. BUT. One of the friends at the table pointed out something that struck me ever so awesomely. It was heart-blowing. Like mind-blowing but it happened in my heart. He brought up privilege - that some of us are blessed to have the knowledge, support and guidance to be able to be involved more deeply than others and give more than others - and that we need to be more patient and understanding.
Being involved in the community or the act of giving is a very subjective thing, like all other things in life. I always like to take it back to nature (nature provides a lot of my life lessons). The sun, rain, soil are such different elements, but they all play a role in giving to a tree. Even the bird that pooped out the seed that eventually became that tree played a role. And neither is better or worse than the other. And as such, we all give in different ways at different times. But we each play a role. And instead of comparing roles, we can acknowledge, understand, learn to work with and celebrate them.
That's not to say we shouldn't strive to improve ourselves and the way in which we give. We should, but in the ways we are each best at. :)