Accepting or Excepting?
“An older, beloved family member has been so good to us. We love having him around, but lately he has offered to do odd jobs at our house. We pay him, of course, but he spends the money on his new girlfriend,” she lamented.
I failed to see the problem. It seemed like a nice arrangement. Maybe she should send him our way!
“He shouldn’t spend the money we give him on his girlfriend,” she continued.
Ah, there it was. She wasn’t keen on her older family member, who had been alone for decades, having a new girlfriend. As a result, she was making the choice to stop hiring him to complete needed household jobs.
“I would continue to help him, except that I don’t want him spending money on her.”
I understood the dilemma. I’ve struggled with that conundrum myself.
Just last summer, the fun and sometimes hilarious bucket challenge for ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) made its way around Facebook. The point was to raise money for ALS research. I noticed that a sentiment similar to my friend’s started creeping into my newsfeed.
“I would do the bucket challenge except that not all the money goes to research!” commented many.
Fair enough. Although, I did a little research and noticed that while all the money did not specifically go to research, the benefitting foundation used donations for families fighting the disease and similar philanthropies. There was also a place to allot your money specifically to research, but I digress.
And I did the ice bucket challenge. (Find it HERE)
Somewhere though, probably on one of the many long drives from Wyoming to Canada I made as a young adult, I heard an interview that shaped my view of giving. The person being interviewed said that he always had dollar bills in his pocket for street beggars.
“Aren’t you afraid those people are just going to go and spend the easily-gained money on drugs and alcohol?” asked the interviewer, incredulous.
“Maybe,” the guest reflected, “but my responsibility ends when I hand over the dollar. What I do with my money is my business. When I give it away, I no longer control what happens to it. What matters is my intention to help and do good things.”
That description aligned to my beliefs. I have adhered to that belief without angst ever since. I believe in helping other people. It’s too tiring and paralyzing to analyze whether or not my money or acts of service will be used or appreciated to my satisfaction.
Since then, I have handed out dollar bills, homemade sandwiches, bottles of water, and gift cards and have bought lunch for two young people panhandling money for the train -- turns out, they liked the lifestyle! Some panhandlers with whom I shared were ambivalent, others blessed me profusely, and others enlightened me with conversation.
I have also donated to Christmas programs that purchase gifts for underprivileged families. This past Christmas, Facebook was flooded with people who were disenchanted with local programs because their gifts went to families who had large TVs and cell phones. They wanted to personally put out a call for needy families of their choosing. They would decide who deserved their charity.
“I would give to those Christmas programs, except that they all have better stuff than I do!”
However, we still give to them every year. The act is not just about getting presents or money to someone’s door. For us, it’s a process that involves a trip to the store with my OUR child who helps to pick out gifts for another child his age. He knows what they like. And the conversation revolves around compassion and helping people. That’s the part I choose to focus on; it’s what I can control, and it supports my belief.
I trust the vetting process, have taken classes on poverty, and feel good about my contributions.
So, here’s what I propose.
The next time you hear yourself say except that, try replacing it with I accept that instead:
I accept that my beloved family member has finally found a companion and that he spends money on her.
I accept that a person may spend my dollar on alcohol instead of food, but my intention is that he will use it for good.
I accept that not every penny of my donation goes to ALS research , but I give for the purpose of a cure.
I accept that I don’t know how this family ended up on a gift- giving list, but I hope that my well- intentioned gifts bring joy and hope to them this season.
It may be hard to wrap your head around it, but we do this with food too.
I would eat this delicious wrap except that, I hate couscous!
Change what seems unpalatable and enjoy the recipe anyway.
When you change your approach, and control what you can, you may find the result more satisfying than the usual.
Peace & Light,
The Busy Buddha
Mediterranean Wrap (Eating Well)
This wrap is perfect to take on the go or enjoy at a picnic. As mentioned above, adding and subtracting ingredients to your liking is the key to making to your taste. I used Israeli Couscous, but you could also use Farro, Bulgar or Quinoa.
FIND RECIPE HERE!
How do you make decisions about giving and do they align to your core beliefs?