Giving

Christmas is around the corner… I’ve been all nostalgic today and thinking back on our family traditions.

We obviously did the digging out and dusting off of old tree ornaments; had our fair amount of fights with sparkling lights and hiding presents and the other usual stuff. But there was this tradition I almost managed to forget completely, well not exactly forget as I still do it without even thinking about it, I guess I just forgot that it was our tradition.

The first weekend of our summer holidays we’d always take about 20 or 30 kids from the orphanage camping and made up brilliant names for star compilations as we sang silly little Christmas carols. I use to love every second of it when I was little, mostly because I felt like – even just for a few days- I had brothers and sisters. For a few days out of the year other people got to experience the love my parents shared. Of course my parents had their share of fights and disagreements but somehow when they were putting other people first, every conflict they had perished in comparison…

We also spent a few days before Christmas going to old age homes with a few of our family friends. The parents would spend the whole time baking loads of pancakes, while we take time out of our lives to just sit down and talk to random strangers. It was always a bit sad knowing that most of these people will spend Christmas day alone. Some just don’t have any family left and others have lost contact for some reason or another. We’d sit there and listen to them tell stories of when they were our age or even break down in tears because it’s been years since someone cared enough to just listen to them. We had so much fun just spending time in someone else’s world.

That’s what I’ve been wondering in my nostalgic mood today: were we having fun because we were caring and enjoying the wonder of giving or was it just our way of paying penance? Obviously helping others is good no matter what the reason because the end result justifies the cause… I’m just remembering that in those few days, I didn’t have this over whelming feeling of guilt. I didn’t feel like I was taking my perfect life for granted. I could just be proud of the person I was becoming.

I’m not sure if we cared for the right reasons. It’s not like we didn’t intend to help or as if we planned to do it only for the justification. I just can’t help but wonder if having brothers for a weekend was my way of trying to make up for letting down my own… Maybe I enjoyed talking to random strangers so that I wouldn’t feel guilty about never taking time to get to know that kid in the back of my science class… Maybe I went out to help them so that for a while I could escape my own world and all my mistakes…

I’m all for caring and doing whatever I can to help, I’m just not entirely convinced that I’ve been doing it without any personal gain! Maybe that’s half the fun: getting more out of it than you could ever imagine…

Just my opinion,

AM

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