In my lifetime, I’ve been short of cash, in debt, but never poor.  My mother told me stories of the Great Depression and her mother, a young widow with three children, who faced rough times with a sense of humor and no looking back.  My grandmother taught me a lot as I watched her helping other people even when she had little herself.  She introduced me to people I never met in the comfortable life I led as a child, people who had a different scale of living.  She didn’t comment, she didn’t try to teach me, but I watched and listened.

When I lost both my husband and son to cancer, I could only think of all I still had even with such life-changing, soul-crushing losses.  On the news once, there was a woman in Turkey who had lost everything in an earthquake.  She lost her family, about 18 members, their home, their business.  She was just sitting there, frozen in the enormity of it all.  I wonder about her often.  There’s always someone worse off than we are, but I wonder who was worse off than that woman, at least on that day.

Life happens.  People are born into unfortunate circumstances, illnesses happen, accidents occur.  You can plan all you want and life happens anyway.

I’m in a good place in my life and I find myself sharing whenever I can.  I find myself doing things in my everyday life that are easy to do.  I tip bigger to make up for those who can and are cheap about it.  My kids have been waiters and pizza delivery and I know how little they are paid.  I tip bigger to maid in hotels and bigger at restaurants.  It’s just a couple of dollars here and there that I won’t miss but that might make a huge difference to someone else.

It isn’t always a big gift that means a lot.  People have pride and you can’t hurt that.  You have to be respectful.  But you can make life easier for those who struggle with a phone call, an offer of a ride, an errand run.  My time may mean more than my money.

It’s so easy to peel off a sliver of money or time when the opportunity is right there in front of you.  Last Christmas Eve, a friend of mine and I took 10 $10 bills and drove around town, handing them to people we saw on the street. There was a family waiting for a bus, a homeless man living in a tent, a homeless man who was standing outside a grocery store, a homeless man outside a thrift shop and others we found.  Sure, we felt good, but it was mainly the right thing to do. We gave those people a surprise, a glimmer of hope and love.  We learned a lot that afternoon.  And, I’ll do it again.  And again.  Because them that’s got are them that gets and they also need to be them that gives.  Simple.IMG_4380