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When you share what you have with someone else, no matter what word you throw at it – charity, compassion, philanthropy, kindness, generosity – really, it’s all about love.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about what it must be like to not have a family to be with during the holidays, or to not have the means to provide a holiday dinner for the family you do have. To count every dollar and weigh it against the electric bill, prescription costs, or gas for the car. To know that spending a lot for one “special” holiday meal might mean you or your children have just a little bit less in the kitchen cupboard in the weeks that follow.

I know what it’s like to scrounge and scrimp. After my parents divorced, my Dad didn’t bother much with child support, and my Mom was left struggling to hold down a job and raise, house, feed, educate, dress, and love three children. I remember the lean times — how every purchase was thought through not once but twice.

But what I remember most about that time is love. The way my brothers protected me. The way we held fast to each other as a family and never once thought we were less than anyone else because we didn’t have snow boots, the cool clothes, or fancy snacks in our brown paper bag lunches.

My Mom was, and still is, the gutsiest person I’ve ever met. She never broke when I know her back was up against the wall. She never let us see her falter in her faith that somehow we’d all get through those lean years.

My mother taught me about loyalty and compassion and that — while we should never forget where we come from — we should also never let that memory color where we believe we can go.

Nearly everything I am, I owe to her, and she’s the person I’m most thankful for this year and every year.

When my mother remarried several years later, we were quite a bit better off, and one of my favorite times of year became Thanksgiving.

Suddenly, we had abundance. I’ve never forgotten how it felt to have that – that ineffably comforting mix of security and freedom that comes from having “enough.”

When I had my Reality Chick column appearing in print in the local Pelican Press, each November I ran a fund-raising drive for All Faiths Food Bank. I’d donate my entire month’s earning from the column to the drive and encourage readers to donate what they could. The first year, the “Pelican Pelanthropy” drive, as I called it, raised about $600. The second year — close to $6,000. The community’s response to the drive was really inspiring and through those drives we provided a lot of turkey dinners and other meals to folks in and around Sarasota. Just a small group of readers doing their part — but it was such a great thing to be a part of. I wish I could have done something similar this year.

I know that providing a few meals at the holidays in and of itself won’t imprint that feeling of having “enough” permanently in the lives of people who don’t have the luxury of experiencing that feeling every day. But I do believe that acts of kindness and moments of true generosity resonate through time and through hearts in ways that are unknowable — altering the sensibilities and outlooks of both the giver and the receiver.

Enough of those moments, woven together over time, create a kinship and a bond of humanity that expands beyond our own immediate families and transcends the turkey on the table.

After all, when we give — no matter what time of year — it isn’t about turkey and trimmings – it’s about love.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Posted on November 25th, 2008Comments RSS Feed
2 Responses to It’s about love
  1. Very well said MC….Happy Thanksgiving to you and everyone who reads this blog.I am also quite sure your mom is very proud of you..for the person you became.. and your philosophy on life and towards humanity in general:-)

  2. Well said, Steve….


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