There are impressions in life that find their way into your heart and take up residence. They can be small moments where a comment is said, you experience something or read something and you are forever changed. As Christmas comes around I think of one of those moments for me that changed the way I feel about this breathtaking and precious earth.
About 6 years ago I was watching a beautiful Indian film called “Water”, a movie that tells the story about the widows of Varanasi. I cannot pinpoint why it moved me so deeply, but it did. I carried that story around inside me for years. I wanted to meet these women that were outcast because their husbands had died. I wanted to make a difference in their lives. I didn’t know how but I knew that something would happen, one day.
Two years ago on Christmas Eve, I was in Varanasi India visiting friends for the holidays. Enrolling the kind help of strangers, I made my way to a widow’s home on the back of a motorbike. I met and talked, via a translator, to the women about how life was for them. I wiped a tear or two from my eyes as I felt my heart take big breaths in the presence of these leather skinned women. To this day, I cannot say why these women move me so deeply. I cannot say that I am creating an avalanche of change, but I know that what I contribute to them a few times a year helps in small ways. My friends report that the women are able to buy themselves healthier food and warmer clothes in the winter months. Knowing this fills me with peace.
Whilst talking with some girlfriends last week about what our dreams are for 2013, one of them reported that she was going to volunteer in Japan for Sea Shepard. An organisation committed to stopping the dolphin killings. She was working extra hours at Bunnings to come up with the money and she was so committed and passionate about contributing in that way that everyone at the table felt compelled to volunteer some of their money to help sponsor her trip over there.
These stories are not unique. There are people all over the world doing small, big, and huge things to serve the world and their hearts. eQ has donated well over half a million dollars to the Make-A-Wish Foundation so that young children with illness can have some of their dreams come true. We now also pay two people to clean up the rubbish in Bali. Pete just saw a need and wanted to do something about it. Next year eQ will be setting up a foundation to sponsor a thousand children, just because we are moved to do something for those in a position of needing the support and because we have the capacity to be that help. It is exciting times.
Who can forget Live Aid. A world syndicated concert created by Bob Geldof as a response to images Bob saw in a documentary of the 1984 famine in Africa. Firstly he asked all the pop singers of the time to come together to create a song to raise money. The group called Band Aid put out a single which raised $12 million dollars and sowed the seed for a bigger idea. He was moved to action and called over 1.9 billion other people around the world to be educated as well as entertained all in the name of putting our money where our heart is. That dual continent event raised over $250 million dollars and Bob worked for years after to make sure that the money was used in the smartest way for the benefit of those in the most need. It became his life calling for a time and he put his heart and soul into it.
A long time friend of mine lives in Cambodia building Health Centres, Schools and vegie patches with the money donated to her organisation; Life Options Direct Empowerment Cambodia and Nepal. Her husband works here in Sydney to support her so that all the donated money goes to the people that need it. One of my goals for the next few months is to buy a Tuk Tuk ambulance that is desperately needed for the birthing mothers in Cambodia.
Another friend held a huge community garage sale to raise money to support a friend with a new born child with special needs. A talented friend organises quilting groups where people create works of art for still born babies to be wrapped in love, another one is a foster parent. Someone anonymously paid for an associate’s desperately needed prosthesis. My son gave decorated jars to all his friends for Christmas so they could collect their small change and give it to a cause of their choice. He called them small change for small change jars.
There are stories everywhere of all the things that people do with their time and their money when their heart leads them. It might seem small to you or it could be a personal best. Whatever it is and where ever it takes you, know that anytime is the perfect time to contribute, donate, serve and give to the world around you in whatever way makes your heart sing. There is enough love pumping through your veins to share around to the whole world, and like a boomerang, all that love will come back to you. Look around you and you will see someone that could do with your care, your time and some of your money. They are everywhere so if you feel it in your heart to give, go ahead, for them, and for yourself.