Welcome to October. Time to warm things up with a little charity and charity begins at the mailbox.
Charity is a word that has been somewhat co-opted by well-meaning do-gooders. Charity has even been taken to the point of having negative feelings attached to it. What a loss.
Charity is a Greek word that is a verb–not a building or a non-profit noun. Charity in Greek is agape (uh-gawp-ay).
Agape is essentially “active love” towards our fellow humans.
Charity is love-in-action.
We have talked about how kindness and giving can help to grow hope for ourselves and for those who are the receivers. Unfortunately, charity has become a concept that is a less than beautiful expression of love so bear with me as I unpack charity and attempt to bring it back to its proper place.
We have all heard people say with scorn, “I don’t want your charity“. I can understand this. It is humbling to be in a place of need but we all find ourselves there at some point in life and the good news is that hope can always find us. Charity is the picture of hope in this place of need.
Charity was never meant to be a vertical action.
“I am better off so I’ll donate to you poor people” Or..
“I’m better off than you so I’ll reach down and give you a little something”
Poor mis-guided souls, giving or receiving, are missing the point and purpose of charity.
Charity is horizontal.
It says, “I see you are hurting, struggling, in need and I see you–a fellow human being. I am in a place that I can offer a gift of love, compassion, goodwill, benevolence.”
Hope gains strength in sharing.
Hope, like air that keeps us afloat, can also fan a flickering flame that is about to go out.
I have been both giver and receiver of charity and it is a profound experience on both sides. Learning to be a gracious giver and receiver is a process. We will talk more about this in the weeks to come. For now let’s talk about this month’s visual aid/craft/love-in-action: cards.
Get your postal stamps out and be ready to do a little detective work to locate addresses–we are going old school and breaking out the paper, pens, stickers and …glue sticks.
Cards are an easy and unobtrusive way to practice charity. Think of 3 or 4 people or families or even strangers who may be in in need of charity, hope, or kindness and send one card to each.
I would encourage you to send one card a week for your benefit–not to each but just one card to the first person/family the first week of October then the next card to the next person/family the next week and so on. If you are so inclined you can put something inside the cards like a gift card of some sort but this is absolutely optional.
There are numerous supplies available to make your own cards. Craft stores have all-in-one card-making kits. As always and without any guilt or condemnation just buy a few cards at the store if crafting isn’t your thing.
What to put inside
“Thinking of you” is always a great sentiment of thoughtfulness and kindness. Or a nice quote or scripture of love and kindness–always err on the side of kindness and gentleness.
If you are feeling a little crafty, here are a few ideas for making homemade cards:
The link directly above has a bunch of free printables to make an assortment of cards.
Whether crafting, copying or purchasing your cards, have fun and be charitable to yourself.
Heidi Mull, glueing, grinning, and going postal.