Sharing the Wealth

One man's trash...

One man's trash...

I just read an amazing story about a postal worker from New Jersey who took the time to visit his local thrift store and procure items for his relations back in Ghana.  He was just honored by the National Association of Letter Carriers for this wonderful deed….

….On the Chicago Tribune website, from AP-  “National Humanitarian of the Year, Emmanuel Anim-Sackey, 50, of West Orange, N. J., who sifts through northern New Jersey thrift stores and yard sales to find used clothes, shoes and school supplies to send back to impoverished families in Abetifi-Kwahu, a village in his native Ghana.”

What a beautiful, yet so simple thing to do.  His time, money, and efforts may have won him some acclaim here but I’d hazard a guess that he’s even more of a hero back in his native country.  See, this gentleman took a look around him, realized that we as a country are truly rich by most of the world’s criteria, and decided to share the wealth. 

Now that phrase, “share the wealth,” was bandied about for a while back during the presidential campaign last  year.  But for all the outcry and debate, truly what is wrong with helping our fellow man; to give from those of us who have so much to those for whom clean water is a luxury rather than a common happenstance?  Isn’t what we all learn as children?  Sharing, cooperating, caring, having empathy, compassion, and love are all values instilled early and hopefully traits we carry over into our adulthood.  Whether it’s lending a neighbor a hand with felling a dead tree, bringing a casserole to a new widower, or even shipping a box of clothes to distant lands, it’s this spirit of altruism that connects and binds us all as a society, a race, a community, an amalgam of all things human. 

In these hard times, we’ve all tightened our belts, cut back on luxuries like vacations (preferring the new-cool “staycation”), and some of us have even learned from our grandparents to grow a Victory garden to supply us with food from our own toils.  Giving to others may seem impossible right now, as we are faced with dental bills, threats of layoffs, rising costs of living, and worries about our own circle of friends and family.  All the charities are taking a hit these days as donations are down.

But taking a cue from Mr.  Anim-Sackey, the time to consider the welfare of others even as we pray for our own salvation may be, curiously, the best time to share the wealth.  It doesn’t have to be in the form of a huge monetary donation.  We usually always have a half-hour a month to set aside in the service of others; be that serving food to the homeless, tutoring a struggling student, or collecting clothes to clad our far-flung relatives. 

Anne Frank may have put it best with her simple reminder, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Sharing the wealth may ultimately reap riches on us all.

To learn more about the other inspirational folks delivering our mail:

www.nalc.org

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Parts of a Whole

It's the little things that count

It's the little things that count

We are all parts of a whole.  Like building blocks, one individual block is important but put together a lot of blocks can make amazing things.

Life is like that.  How many of us go through this existence feeling alone, separated from others, cut off and dispassionate?  We live in a world now where it’s possible to never stray outside.  We can order all our necessities online, have them delivered, do research with a click of a mouse, get an education, download music, connect with others on social networks, and self-diagnose our medical problems.  In one way this is very convenient, safe, practical, and for some, the only way to function.  We become mere bytes on a computer, ID numbers on an order form, and quirky handles on Twitter.

Yet how does that ultimately serve our true essence?  We are more than just ourselves as individual consumers, patients, researchers, students, or contributors to Facebook.  In fact, one could say that perhaps with the advent of social networking, even those of us least inclined to venture outside and deal with others ultimately end up doing so anyway whenever we update our status or upload a photo or video. 

Deep down, the human psyche needs to connect; to be more than an individual block, but rather a part of something.  Look at all the organizations out there, from charities, school alumnus groups, sports teams, political committees, and clubs as varied as the NRA and PETA.  Each of us, it seems, finds some way to connect; to make more of ourselves than a single imprint on society. 

As Alfred Tennyson, Poet Laureate for the UK once said, “I am a part of all that I have met,”  so too are we a conglomeration of all our connections in life.  We are parts of a whole;  individual, beautiful parts, powerful by ourselves, yet unconquerable in our collective soul.