Okay, I’m not great with neither resolutions nor predictions. Like many, my most ambitious resolutions are seldom kept and my futuristic predictions often take too many years to come true. For resolutions I now keep them both high and low.
Low meaning I aim low by keeping them simple and achievable and usually only make one per year and also high because I don’t make myself the immediate beneficiary — I look for a higher purpose.
When we emigrated some eight years ago we gave away well over a hundred bottles of good wine that I had collected over a decade — which put a lot of smiles on the faces of family, friends and co-workers. Even mine, some of the reds were really sublime!
For example a couple of years back I resolved to properly dispose of and and/or recycle batteries. That resolution stuck and we still recycle and/or responsibly dispose of our batteries. We simply keep a large jar in the garage where we store old batteries which we then take to our local Best Buy or Home Depot once a year. They, like many large stores selling batteries, have bins for recycling and disposal.
What is my resolution for 2008? Acts of random kindness. Something which gives me a heap of pleasure, but something I usually do on a whim or around specific events. Like winter, when people might need some of my clothes more than I do, or on Valentine’s day when a single red rose from an anonymous admirer might put a smile on somebody’s face or when breaking news on CNN of some disaster has us feeling empathetic but helpless — so we reach for the cheque book to fund a Red Cross relief effort. Perhaps our closets and the garage needs clearing out, so we bag stuff up and give to the Vietnam Vets. When we emigrated some eight years ago we gave away well over a hundred bottles of good wine that I had collected over a decade — which put a lot of smiles on the faces of family, friends and co-workers. Even mine, some of the reds were really sublime!
My acts of random kindness this year will not necessarily be charitable, material nor only for deserving people, in keeping with the spirit of Kahlil Gibran’s On Giving from The Prophet …
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet: On Giving …
Then said a rich man, “Speak to us of Giving.”
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is unquenchable?
There are those who give little of the much which they have – and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.
And there are those who have little and give it all.
These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;
They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.
Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind their eyes He smiles upon the earth.
It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding;
And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is joy greater than giving
And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.
You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving?
And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?
See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life – while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.
And you receivers — and you are all receivers — assume no weight of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.
Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;
For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who has the free-hearted earth for mother, and God for father.
… and beyond this little bit of shameless bragging, I’ll strive to be an anonymous benefactor.
So what about a few predictions? Not this year!
And what of the spiritual references in Kahlil’s poem? Dwell on the spirit of his message, not the spirituality, says the theomaniac in me!