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Archive for November, 2007

The other day, I tried to teach my 3 1/2 year old son about charity and why we do it.  Unfortunately, he was having trouble to grasp the concept.  We were getting rid of some of our things to make room for Christmas.  Some of these things included some of my son’s books which he’d grown out of.  Sadly, he didn’t want to let go of any of them, so he was, understandably, upset.  He wouldn’t allow me to get rid of some of his books, in particular his Thomas The Tank Engine song book.  I tried to explain that giving these books to charity would mean that disadvantaged children would have a nice Christmas.  That he understood.  I then said that if by giving the charity shop these books, they could make money and help more people. THAT he understood.  However, he could see why his books had to go to charity.  Fair point, after all, he is 3!  In the end, I made a compromise with him saying that he could keep one book of his choice, but the rest would go to the shop.  He chose the one we wanted to get rid of.  Serves us right to get rid of some of the things he wanted.

Joking aside, I believe that giving to charity is one of the best things to do, especially around Christmas.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a local charity, national charity or even a international charity, they all help someone.  Three years ago, one of my cousins married.  As their wedding present, they asked everyone to pick something from the World vision catalogue.  You could choose from something as simple as a pack of seeds for farmers in struggling communities, to putting a teacher through their training.  It was a wonderful idea, and a beautiful gesture. 

It all comes back down to Universal responsibility.  It’s something I mentioned in an earlier post.  We are all, in some way, connected.  Even by the most inconceivable link.  For example, by reading this post, you are directly linked to me (hello!).  you are also indirectly linked to the persons that mined the ore for all the metals in my computer, who then gave it to Dell to make it.  To the person that packed it in the box (and yes, to the person who made the box); who shipped my computer, the people that bring the electricity to my house, as well as the Internet and ultimately to my son, who gave me the idea for this post.  I could go on for ever…  By reading this post, you are directly or indirectly linked (whether spiritually or not) to millions of people.  It’s the same with everything.  Just think about one item around you now, and try and think of all the people that made it possible.  Go as far as you can.  It also works the other-way round:

Say I’d left that box of books outside the charity shop because it was closed.  What if someone had taken one or all of the books (which I’m afraid happens).  By taking that book/box, the charity cannot sell it, which may mean they don’t make their targets for that month and get closed down.  The charity therefore loose all that revenue and can’t help as many people.  One of the people they couldn’t help turns to crime through desperation.  I end up arresting them for something.  This person then becomes a regular offender and ends up going to prison.  One life ruined because someone thought  “Taking this box isn’t stealing because it was dumped outside a shop, so obviously, no one wanted it”.

I  ask that everyone gives what they can to charity this Christmas.  Whether it be just a book, a box of old things clogging up your loft, or even buying your Christmas presents at the local shops.  Each gesture helps the charity in some way, and ultimately helps us.

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This is the title of one of my favourite songs sung by Colin Hay.  I like it so much in fact, I’m going to have it played at my funeral.  I believe this song is about death, and waiting for our next life (or hopefully, enlightenment) to begin.  The chorus are the most poignant lines in the song:

“Be still my love, Open up your Heart, Let the light shine in.  Don’t you understand? I already have a plan.  I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”

I believe it could be interpreted as a message from the deceased to their loved ones, telling them to rejoice, as they are no longer suffering, and that they will see each other in another life time.As a member of the emergency services, you get to hear about and see death on a regular basis.  Some can find it hard to deal with, others don’t.  Personally, I’ve never seen death as an end.  Sure I was scared, and still am, but ever since I was a young child, I never really saw it as a problem.When I was around 6-7 years old, my maternal grandfather became ill and died.  I’m not sure if I was too young to comprehend, or if it was something else, but I never felt like he was gone.  I remember when we were driving back from the hospital after he had died.  The mood in the car was very sombre; except for mine.  I even asked my mother if I could take his place at the head of the table at meal times.  Some psychologists may say I was in denial, but I hardly knew the man well enough to be in denial about his death.  He was a person bought up in the era when children were seen and not heard (or at least, that’s the impression I got).  Not that I didn’t mourn his death, but I always had the lingering feeling we’d meet again.  A similar conversation arose between a friend and I, when we talked about how children take funerals.  They mentioned it was hard to tell them and explain, however I think children are a little more clued up than we think.From a Buddhist perspective and reincarnation, we do all meet up later on.  Tibetans believe that every person was once our mother and vi-ca versa, and therefore is worthy of our respect.  This is why Buddhism preaches non violence, as you would be assaulting a being that may at one time been, or may still be, your mother.  Unfortunately, not everyone is so inclined to agree.  Which leads on to deeper trouble…

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