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November 25, 2010

Yesterday I was walking down a street in Denver with a friend when we passed a homeless man. He was like every other homeless man you see on the street. Oversized jacket, a dirty wool watch cap, and an old guitar slung around his shoulder with a sign that said “Anything helps”. My friend handed me her coffee cup as she dug through her purse and produced a dollar bill. She then ran back and handed the dollar to the homeless man. He smiled with what remaining teeth he had, and waved us a good day.

My friend returned and grabbed her coffee. She then said, “My brother has a theory. That a dollar means a lot more to him than it does to me. And if he decides to use it on drugs or alcohol that’s on him.” This made a lot of sense to me- in that way that you have always witnessed a sunset, but never quite knew why it set. Then you take that astronomy class and discover that the earth rotates around the axis, causing the sun to dip in and out of view. It all makes perfect sense, yet was right in front of you.

Today is Thanksgiving. A day where we give thanks to those we love, and I know that I have so so much to be thankful for. The last few years of my life have been a bit up and down. Moves, heart aches, shifting my career/life into new directions. But along the entire way I can’t help but look back and be so gloriously thankful for everything I have in life- my friends, my family,  my health, and the freedom to a life I dictate. I know there are people out there who are so much more worse off than I am. There are people out there who worry about getting enough food for their family, people who are under constant threats of violence or sexual abuse, people who are terminally ill, people who don’t have the freedom to live and express themselves due to political or religious restraints. I am fortunate to have been born into the life I have been. I recognize that. And I am truly thankful.

But the question is what do we do with that gratitude? We gather our loved ones around the table tonight, but somewhere out there is someone less fortunate. Someone who doesn’t have a family to gather with, who doesn’t have any food to eat, and who can’t even afford a table. I do recognize these things, and I realize its time to start giving back. To share the great luck you’ve been born into. I truly want to leave this world a better place. And as much fun as I have galavanting around the world I know I have still left many lives untouched, and there is still so much good I can and should do. I recognize this, and in my long term goals it is something I want to do. I’m just trying to figure how. And I think we all can.

During these tough times where we’re all cinching down purse strings and trying to be more frugal it’s easy to forget that the dollar we’re saving can help someone else out so much more than ourselves.

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