In the last post, compassion and charity, as well as love, were the topics. A mere two days later, the Universe gave me a noteworthy occasion to practice whether I’d respond with charity, or not—a choice that would save a friend from homelessness, or not. Would I “put my money where my mouth is?” In this case, would I avow to the Higher Path of caring compassion and generosity? Would I be charity in action?
We know if our hearts are truly charitable only when we get to practice the lesson of charity. First-hand experience is key. In the wonderful movie, “Something’s Gotta Give,” Erica Barry, a famous playwright acted by Diane Keaton, confesses to Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson) that she’d written about the heartbreak of falling and being in love in her plays, but in the safety and distance of her creative imagination. After experiencing the shattering heartbreak (when she saw him with another woman) of falling in love with Harry , she says, “I recognize this. I’ve written about it, but I never really GOT IT until now.” She got it as soon as she let down her emotional guard and opened her heart to the vulnerability of love.
Charity, in some respects, can be that level of vulnerability, as so marvelously depicted in another excellent film—“The Blind Side”—about the obvious risks of opening one’s heart, home, and pocketbook to a complete stranger, in this case, to a homeless, African-American teenager. This true story about Leigh Anne and Sean Touhy’s generous nature went deeply into the hearts of us all as examples of what we too can be when we choose compassion and charity—a word whose synonyms are kindness, acceptance, concern, humanity, bigheartedness, goodwill, benevolence, sympathy, understanding, and impartial love. For Leigh Anne and Sean, there was no dichotomy between what they believed and how they lived their beliefs and principles. They were charity in action.
The magnitude of a charitable gift or act is immaterial. The wealthy Touhy family was able to give a lot. But sometimes the gift is simply making a meal for a neighbor who is sick and lives alone. At other times it is the act of opening a door for a disabled person or reading to a friend whose eyesight has dimmed. Still another time it is the transfer of a lump sum loan, as it was for my husband and me, which enabled our friend to have the cleaning deposit so he could get into an apartment. Now he can relax in a safe and reliable place in order to get his life back on track after making some unwise choices, the consequences of which he has been facing with great courage and honesty.
None of our individual lessons are ever punitive; it is simply a “report card” of choice and effect. His lesson is different than ours. Ours was an opportunity to choose charity in such a way that our “record” reflects charity in action.
A single charitable act, regardless of its extent,
Text © by Zane Maser, 2012. Heart photo © by Zane Maser, 2012. All rights reserved worldwide.
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