Doing The Most Good (Starting With Yourself!)

To say that I’ve been unmotivated to blog would be a gross understatement.  As a matter of fact, I suddenly had the blogging faucet turned off a few days after NaBloPoMo ended and just looking at the innocent tab marked with "TypePad" on my browser became kind of a little much for me.

But if there was one thing to be learned from the month-long exercise is that there is something to write about and what needs to change is the writer’s attitude.  So what if you’re cold and you only have a few minutes?  You can still bang out something, if only to say hello to the blogosphere.  To say hello and to say, "sorry I’m being so dysfunctional" you know?

Yes, I know you know.

_________

And to get back into the writing rhythm, we start off the blogging cycle again with an exercise from Kate over at Babylune.  She is hosting the Generous December Group Writing Project and I strongly suggest you go over to her blog and say howdy, read some good entries (especially if you’re  pregnant or are a new mom) and maybe even participate yourself– you have until December 19th.

As for me, I have struggled to write about a charity or noble cause that is near and dear to me.   I find that it’s hard to talk about and back charitable causes because in many cases you can back up organizations that sound wonderful on paper but that have had major scandals associated with them, or whose money doesn’t go to the intended purpose.  For instance, when I worked at Macy’s many years ago, they were associated with the United Way — an organization that has excelled in selling itself as a champion supporter of children and as a builder of community.  So Federated would force its employees to "donate" to the United Way and match gifts and all those annoying things that employers do wrong for all the right reasons; i.e. Can you really commit to an act of love ("charity" is derivated from "carus"– which means "love" in Latin) when your employer takes it out of your  wages, really?
Of course, the United Way is constantly involved in unsavory embezzlement and theft stories that tarnish all the good work that most of the organization does.  And this is not a problem of the United Way or the Boys and Girls’ Club or Goodwill or the Salvation Army or any of the charitable programs and causes that you can rattle off as if you were playing a rousing game of Scattergories, Feel-Good Edition.

Having said my disclaimer, I must tell you something:

I find it soothing to my soul to give things I no longer use to places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill or a local church thrift shop.  Bonus fact: ringing the Salvation Army bell is actually incredibly fun and rewarding in its own way; but I don’t know where the red kettle is emptied, so I’m not openly endorsing that part.

I am a packrat, and someone who tends to hold on to things; so when I finally commit to simplifying my existence and putting things in bags and eventually walk through the tinkling door of one of these musty-smelling places, I find a strange peace and a sense of hope.

I know that my things will be loved by someone else– maybe even more than what I’ve already loved them (and believe you me, I LOVE things– far more than I should).

I know that places like a Goodwill or a Salvation Army storefront provide a channel for change of ownership with dignity– it’s a place where someone can walk in and buy things for a very affordable price and can sometimes find a bargain, without it being a free handout and therefore having the tarnished aura of the unearned.  In fact, these places can be such good deals that many people love combing the shelves of their local thrift shop just to find one-of-a-kind deals like you cannot find in regular store shelves anymore (looking at you, Miss J).

I know that someone’s child will be delightfully well-dressed, warm and utterly charming with clothes that no longer fit my son — someone who perhaps can’t regularly afford to clearance-rack-dive over at Gymboree or Nordstrom, and who will have more money left over to buy essentials.

I know the world isn’t perfect, as neither are its inhabitants.  But every time that I am able to give actual goods to one of these outfits — goods that hopefully will make someone else as happy as they made me– I smile.  I know it’s pretty hard to embezzle a pair of used heels or a baby sleeper, even though I’m sure there is an employee or two who is fond of calling dibs on new merchandise.  So I’m pretty sure that what I donate will help someone out and will spread the good will a little farther out.

I encourage you, dear blogosphere, to clean out your closet even if it isn’t spring yet, and go donate to your local thrift shop of choice.  Not only is it good for your karma, but it’s good for the environment (recycling is green!) and it’s good for someone who needs the coat you haven’t worn for two winters.

Someone is in need.  Why not fulfill it?

And on that note –and now that Herr Meow is up– I’m off to unload at the Salvation Army.

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This entry was published on December 10, 2007 at 4:08 pm and is filed under Inner Lotus Blooms. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “Doing The Most Good (Starting With Yourself!)

  1. you know, one of the best things about living near a goodwill is driving over there every time i clean my closet. i own quite a bit of clothing (as you can imagine), a lot of which i no longer wear (or barely did). so it feels good to donate.
    just make sure you don’t donate any clothing with stains (even ‘clean stains’ as my boo calls ’em) or holes. they (goodwill/salvation army) really don’t appreciate that.

  2. I don’t know where my entire town would have been without the constant aid from the Salvation Army after the tornado…

  3. It does feel great to give things away. Thanks for the reminder that my closet is still holding on to things that others could get more use out of.

  4. I was one of those bell ringers once. It’s long and tiring, and conducive to headaches – ring that bell long enough and you’ll go bananas. However, the money stays local and helps people less fortunate in the community. So, there’s some Bible-stuff attached to it, who cares – people get fed.

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