In 1975 I was making $2/hr. A minimum wage job in the 1970’s paid enough to live on. I didn’t have money for out of town vacations, but I could go to the movies and eat fast food when I wanted. I had a friend going through a difficult time financially. I never knew that at the time – I just know that when I showed up at her apartment to visit, all her things were gone. She had found a house in the woods to house-sit because she could no longer afford rent. Even if I had known she was having trouble, I’m not sure it would have occurred to me to share my money with her, to help her out. Money was a private affair, or so I’d been taught.
Ten years later, I became friends with a woman who told me that every time she received any money, she gave some away. Sometimes she gave to charitable organizations and sometimes to people who she felt supported by. Though I’d heard of tithing to a church, this idea of giving away some of my income every month was a new idea for me.
Plus, on a selfish level, I’d read that when you give, the universe will give back to you tenfold. Thus began my habit of giving — which I’ve recently begun to call Sharing. The more I hear about disparate income, and the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer, and knowing the government isn’t going to fix this growing problem, it’s up to us, the people, to share what we have with each other. To make reparations. If I have enough, and I’ve always had enough, then I feel a duty, a responsibility to share. Mother Teresa said “If you can’t feed a hundred people, feed one person.”
“To those who are given much, much is expected.” I don’t remember who said that, I’ve heard it in movies too, and I’ve come to believe this, as my life philosophy.
This summer I imagined the following as I read about ISIL selling the girls they kidnapped: advertising a 12 year old virgin for $12,000: What if Warren Buffett (or some other billionaire) decided to buy all the girls that ISIL has on the market? What if he bought them all, freed them, and provided them with the resources they needed to have a life of enough? An education, a home, back with their families? Safe and secure.
I began to pray for the hearts of the men in ISIL to unlock, to open, to feel – so that perhaps they wouldn’t be able to continue their atrocities. What if a legion of people around the world prayed for this?
As I thought more about sharing, and praying for all the hard-hearted people of the world, I thought about the imperative of JOY. If peace begins within, which I know to be true, and that I have to love myself in order to love others — it follows that my staying in my JOY helps contribute to peace on the planet as well. The world needs passionate, joyful people sharing their gifts with each other. We all need each other’s gifts. I hope you will share your gifts, and your resources. Together we can.