"Only One Day?" (Essay)

The concept of day devoted to charity is a noble one, but leaves one man scratching his head trying to understand it, and offering a humble alternative.

One way to insure everyone drowns in a concept is to devote a day to it. Today is #GivingTuesday and thus everyone is getting a million emails from lots of good causes, and I want to participate, but what about the other 364 days? Is this one an attempt to balance our karma with the excessive shopping we've been goaded into since Thanksgiving, or an end-of-year-tax-writeoff opportunity? I'd love to encourage people who follow my page here to do something today, but who the heck would read it when we're all drowning in so many emails & posts?

We're in that season between the early winter holidays that also sacks a lot of people in the northern hemisphere with seasonal affective disorder. If the holidays are tough for you, then this is a real double whammy. It's likely to be hard if you are elderly, homeless, struggling financially or personally in some way.

So how about this instead. Between now and New Year's, let's give love. Give kindness. Give local. Give a hand. Give stuff that those of us who don't have a lot of money can still give freely. Let's give an hour of our time. Let's give $10 worth of good food at our local food bank. Let's drop by that elderly neighbor to say hello and see if they're doing ok. Let's do it any old day, but especially any of these days of Advent, and Hannukah and Christmas and Kwanzaa. Because it sure is easy to sit behind our computers, push a button and send money from our bank accounts into some store, or some noble cause, and we rarely come face to face with anything or anyone that might really benefit from that simple human interaction. And yet in the end, doesn't giving that matter too?

Giving Tuesday just seems kind of hollow to me. Of course it's a great idea to give to worthy causes that we believe in, and help others who are at risk. There's so much humanity on this planet, in this country, in our little community. And it doesn't take much attention to the news feed of the day to realize there is a lot of hurting and bad shit going on in the world. Even here in this most affluent county in the nation there are many among us who are struggling, and the best gift many of us have to give is simply a little of ourselves - just a little caring.

I've always believed deep in my heart that little things really do add up, and that together we are more than the sum of our parts. I'll never stop believing that. Maybe I'm just a delusional voice in the wilderness of corporate-driven consumption hysteria, buried beneath some bottom line. But for the rest of this month, I hope I do a little giving every day. I hope something I do or say unexpectedly makes someone's day or journey a little better. I hope you'll join me. Hell, just smile at strangers - it will mess them up!

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