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Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Lesson on "Helping" and "Giving"

It was the middle of the day yesterday, the sun was at the peak of its intense heat. I was lost in my work -- eyes seeing only the numbers on my laptop screen, fingers typing miles a minute, and mind focusing only on the invoices I'm working on -- when suddenly, a knock on our gate and a loud "tao po" (Is anyone there?) interrupted my perfectly set pace. I was so tempted to not answer the door, but then another knock and call was made.

Reluctantly, I got up and looked at who it was with half a mind; the other half was still trying to stay in the zone I was in whenever I'm focused on my work.

"Ano po iyon?" (What is it?), I asked.

"Manghihingi lang po ng tulong. Yung anak ko po may hydrocephalus,"
(I would like to ask for help. My child has hydrocephalus,)
she replied whilst holding out a plastic envelope. Inside were a copy of her child's medical report and some money that was given to her.

As I have always done whenever someone asked for solicitation, I took the envelope and scanned the written letter of the mother at the back of the medical report. As I was getting money, I quickly looked at the pertinent details, looking at its authenticity.

My eyes saw the name and then proceeded on looking at the age, the name of the hospital, the findings, and the signatures at the bottom. Feeling satisfied, I added my 50 pesos to the money already on the envelope, and quickly gave the envelope back to the lady outside.

With a loud "maraming salamat po," (thank you very much) the lady went on to the next house.

Quickly following her words of gratitude, I replied a hurried, "sige po"  (okay) and went inside.

Our screen door had barely closed when I realized something I deeply regret up until this morning. I wanted to send a quick prayer for the lady and her daughter, but with a big shame, I realized that I have not even bothered myself with taking note of the name of the baby. The paper was already in my hands, I "looked" it over, but nothing really stick to my mind. I was also ashamed of my nearly dismissive attitude towards the lady. Instead of the hurried "sige po," I could have given her a heartfelt "God bless po" and wishing her daughter well.

After uttering a short prayer for the nameless child who have hydrocephalus, I sat down with a heavy heart and remembered my past actions. Thoughts of going back to my work momentarily forgotten.

Cold Giving

I realized that my automatic response to strangers who are asking for monetary help is this: look at the piece of paper that states their name and the reason they are asking for help; get some change in my wallet; and then give back the paper with the money to the solicitor. Not even for a short while, do I really look at the person -- not seeing the human being -- asking for help.  I might say a quick prayer for him/her, but after that he/she is just another nameless face in the crowd.

I consider myself very blessed and I regularly thank God for His great providence. I thank Him that even though I only have enough for my basic needs and little splurges, I am able to regularly tithe and still have some extra money to give to someone begging for alms or soliciting financial help from time to time.

But then, this practice of giving financially has inadvertently led to the mentality I now only realized I have. It showed me how "cold" and incomplete my helping and giving is.

When LYF Throws U Lessons

There are three Ts that we can give to someone: our time, talent, and treasure. When we give our time and talent, there is that connection and bond formed between us and the ones we are helping. We are able to interact with them and see them as a real person, a human being. But most often than not, when we give our treasures, there is a distance between us and the people we are giving to. And that's when we might fall into the trap -- into seeing  them as only people asking, begging, needing our help. That is what we should avoid at all cost.

There is nothing wrong with donating money. There is nothing wrong with helping someone financially. But I think it is important for us to consciously remind ourselves that the person asking for help is a human being. They are not just someone asking for money; hoping for our mercy and compassion, and sometimes even pity. Above all, they are a person of worth; a child of God; our brother and sister in need. And this is how we should see them, a fellow human being.

God bless!

Praying for your happiness,

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