True giving comes from the heart. And there's no one right way to do it. In fact, it looks differently for different people.
Some folks plan elaborate parties, with entertainment and fine dining, putting together lavish items to auction off, charging a door fee, and donating the proceeds to a cause of their liking.
Some people run, walk, bike, etc., while being sponsored by friends who pay them for their efforts and then, the proceeds are donated to a charitable cause.
Others volunteer their time directly to a non-profit organization, rolling up their sleeves and doing whatever the company needs.
Yet another group of people take it directly to the streets, working with the actual people in need, in whatever capacity they feel called to serve.
But there's a less often talked about category of giving that I believe happens even more frequently. It's the giving that takes place in less grandiose ways that are so subtle that they're largely imperceptible to the outside world.
This could look like a lot of things, but primarily it boils down to one person being there for another. We all go through tough times, and when the inevitable happens, it's important that we have someone solid in our corner.
A friend to drive us to the doctor when we're too sick to take ourselves. A loved one to bring us a meal when we're too depressed to take care of ourselves. Someone to sit, listen and bear witness when it's time to grieve.
Yes, at one point or another, we all have these needs. It's the part of life that so often gets swept under the rug. For whatever reason our society has become happiness addicted and pain averse.
We rush towards anything bringing fleeting joy and attempt to numb and medicate anything that hurts in any way. But the dance of life is about learning to feel it all. And by being lovingly and without judgement present for another in their moment of suffering, you give them one of the greatest gifts - the ability to feel it and heal it. By doing so, you just may find there's healing there for you too.
As always, I'd love to hear from you and can be reached through my criminal defense firm's site at www.shanastein.com/contact