Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Season of Giving?

I'm pounding my brain right now, trying to come up with something incredibly insightful and poignant to say about now. You know, with this being the next-to-next-to-last for this month long blogfest I've been torturing myself with.

I've got nothing, folks!

OK, there's some random thoughts juggling around. I guess I will expound upon one of those.

I admit it--I record Oprah on my DVR daily. And, I end up watching most episodes even. My husband hates this. Men hate Oprah. Why is that? While her recent road-trip episodes showed a completely different side to this woman, I still admire the heck out of her for trying to make the world a better place.

No doubt you have heard that on a recent show she asked her audience to each take $1,000 gift cards and to "pay it forward" by giving them to someone else. This week, she revisited those guests and the incredible things they did with the $1,000 for those in need. And...It. Was. Simply. Amazing. There were several crafty people who even got other companies and people to contribute--one raised more than $200,000 for their worthy cause. Isn't that amazing?

And, as I sat there watching, I got a little teary. Some of it was from the monthly hormonal monsoons that washed over me this past week. But, the rest of my emotion was tied up in something that I find it hard to admit.

So, I'll just say it--I don't do enough for others. This whole show made me feel honestly like a selfish old Scrooge. I live in a very nice neighborhood in what I consider to be my dream house (not my dream lot of land, but my dream floor plan). We own three cars and one is a honkin' big gas-hog of an SUV. My kids don't want for much of anything, although we try to not spoil them. When I feel I really need something, I just go and buy it. No problem.

Well, recently the purse strings have gotten tighter around here, as they should around the holidays. We've had some expenses we didn't plan for and we've got to buy my son some bedroom furniture. Thanks to his rapid growth, he's starting to look like Gulliver sleeping among the Lilliputian. And, then there is Christmas.

And, I am embarrassed to admit that with all of these blessings bestowed upon us, I sometimes find myself pouting because we are one of the few houses on the blog that does not pay for a lawn service and a maid. How spoiled can one person be, I ask you?

I do not work, and that is a blessing. (It is a challenge, yes, but I am very fortunate to be able to be with my kids like this.) But, I feel cravings to work quite often. The social interaction is definitely missed, but the real reason I think about work is the money it would bring in. The maid would be guaranteed, we'd have enough to finally go to Disney World with the kids and take some great trips. We wouldn't be stressed about getting through our Xmas bills. After almost eight years of being on one income, and now two kids, we've had to make some changes in our lifestyle.

Even so, as I watched Oprah, I fell for her ploy--I really wanted to give a lot of what I do have up for others. I have been thinking a lot lately about where we live, the attitude of those around us and the excess we have. And, honestly, I want to lose it. I want to move away to a more simple life where people care less about what car you drive or the clothes you wear on your back.

So, about now you are indeed certain that I have a split personality. And, maybe you are right about that. Because, in one second I can be pining away for the IPod I've never bought myself and feeling so deprived, and the next moment I am wanting to downsize and move into a reasonably-sized, middle class abode with a good yard, reasonable taxes, and in a good school district (but not an "Exemplary" school as we're currently in). I become deeply exhausted with people who are most concerned with what they have and making sure they have more than their next door neighbor. And, at the same time, I sometimes have to stop myself from doing that very same thing.

I guess, in truth, all this means is that I am human. But, when I watch an old man cry tears of joy at receiving $1,000 in easy reader books so he can learn to read at age 69, or a lady unable to contain her emotion because someone just bought her a car and now she doesn't have to ride 2 hours each day on a bus to get to work, well I just feel like a cad.

As selfish as I can be at times, I am certain in one belief. I hope to make this more of my life's focus this next year, as well. And, that is: life needs to be more about living and loving than it does spending and what you have. And, if I can teach my kids that by example this holiday season, I will have done something for which I can really be proud.


Blogger Thumper said...

There is nothing --NOTHING--wrong with wanting things. Want is an emotion, somethign we all have; to beat yourself up over it is like beating yourself up for breathing.

There's also nothing wrong with having the house, the cars, living the life you have. Giving it up wouldn't necessarily help anyone else, not in the long run. Just look for the simple ways you can help others--like now, Christmas is coming, toy drives are gearing up and they really need donations. Even a few toys make a difference. Pocket change in the SA kettles...it adds up.

During the rest of the year, simple things like donations to food cabinets is desperately needed, and it doesn't have to break your personal bank. You can help in very big ways with very small gestures... and then enjoy the life you have, because your family has worked for it.

10:27 PM, November 28, 2006  
Blogger Masked Mom said...

Definitely human--and the fact that you're aware of it and not afraid to admit it is definitely a plus in your column.

The material things issue is one I think we all struggle with--whatever our income level. I think there are conflicting messages all over out there--buy, buy, buy, give, give, give. We have been conditioned both to want and to feel ashamed of the wanting--to define success by what we have and to feel guilty about not sharing what we have. So if you've got a split personality, I'm pretty sure you're not the only one.

10:55 PM, November 28, 2006  
Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

Time - you give time. That counts more than $$ any day!
The time you spend at your kids' schools, the time you spend volunteering at different venues -- that all counts. :-)

I'd like to see Oprah give time - real time - like time every week to something other than her workout... I don't see her shelving books at the local library or helping out in the classrooms...

6:47 AM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger LadyBugCrossing said...

Oh- btw - you won the Devil. Email me with your address and I'll send it on.

6:48 AM, November 29, 2006  
Blogger Nicole said...

I swear we are living in parallel universes..we're even on the same cycle. I have been feeling the very same way. The neighborhood we live in is like a little bubble. We never see homeless people, crime, suffering. It's so easy to forget we are in the minority. And when I see the Stepford Wife types at the playground with their Chanel sunglasses and expensive workout clothes, I want to run screaming back to the country life. We actually debate it almost every day. I don't think we do nearly enough for others. When I die someday and face my creator, at this point I don't think He would say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." I have some changing to do, too. Thanks for a timely reminder during this season of excess and gluttony!!!

9:14 AM, November 29, 2006  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Great post! You probally do a lot of things to make a difference and don't realize it - like a smile when someone is having a bad day.

9:41 PM, November 29, 2006  

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