For Best Results, Give

Last week, I sat down to pay some bills, and the bank was all, “Not right now, hit me up later,” or whatever. I haven’t gone back to pay them. They’re not due, and I’ll probably pay them today, or tomorrow, or maybe Tuesday…
Do you have any idea what a blessing it is to be able to pay your bills? Or to be able to pay them on time? Or to not even worry that after you pay them, you’ll be broke?
I do.
I’ve been broke plenty in my life. Most often after paying bills, but sometimes the bills were a joke, like, “Haha! Oh Hospital Bill, you’re so hysterical! Honey, Moo somehow survived after taking $35 worth of Motrin!”

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There are plenty of people who struggle daily with things I don’t even think about. I like to think I think about those things more than other people think about those things, because I live in gratitude as a way of combating anxiety, and I have been without some of those things.

Money is relative. Everyone earns, saves, and spends differently, but I think we can all agree that any version of our ideal lives involves having what we need and then having a good time.
A good time is also relative, but a good time can be free or cost thousands of dollars. In fact, you can spend thousands of dollars and still have a shitty time.

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I’m always telling my kids that lack of money is absolutely the best problem anyone can have. Money can’t create peace, undo betrayal, cure every illness, fix a broken relationship, mend a broken heart, or bring back the dead. You can throw money at any problem, but inevitably, money only fixes money problems.
When things go wrong, and they always do, it’s nice when they’re problems that can be solved with money.

Without money enough to buy solutions, life is desperate, and people despair accordingly. They get beaten down, worn-out, because the world says no, all the time.
No, they can’t buy a single stamp.
No, they can’t buy their kids an ice cream cone.
No, they can’t get a loan.
No, they can’t make payment arrangements at the dentist.
No, there are no second helpings.
No, there is no money for a field trip.
No, they can’t miss work when they’re sick.
No, they don’t have gloves or mittens.
No, they can’t take a job where the buses don’t run.
No, they don’t have the money for the medicine prescribed.
No, they can’t afford to run the heat.
No, they can’t afford a uniform.
No, they can’t pay a traffic ticket.
No, they don’t have a computer at home.
No, they don’t have any canned goods to donate…

Life isn’t fair in any aspect, but those problems SUCK in the land of plenty, and they do get in the way of having a good time.

So my job, as a human being who lives in abundance, is to give.
We give with kindness and compassion.
We will buy a book of stamps for the lady who only needs one and can’t afford twenty.
We will put gas in a stranger’s car.
We will never stand idly by in the check-out and watch as another human being tries to decide whether to put the juice or the paper towels back.
And I don’t mean  we GoFundEveryFuckingThing. It doesn’t cost anything to hold a door, or to help push a car out of the road, to shovel a walk, or to unload someone’s groceries.

Oh we could do more, fersure.
My gramma usta say that you gotta give. What the person does with the money is between him and God, but when you give, you’re right with God.
But there are some people schemin, and I don’t trust those people hangin out with their signs in suburban shopping centers…
If my gramma was right, I hope God understands.

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We were given so much when we needed help. So much. Over the years, people have sheltered us, babysat for us, fed us, paid a bill for us, helped find us jobs, helped us sell things, bought groceries for us, gave us useful things, like someone sold us a minivan for $50 — and I don’t just mean family and friends; one time, we received five-hundred anonymous dollars. Besides, I’ll never know who put the fresh loaves of bread or bags of apples in the WIC office…

I’ve long delayed writing a post on giving, for fear it would seem like bragging, so I won’t go into specifics, except to say that if you look for ways to help people, you will find it’s quite easy.

It’s even easier with strangers, because it’s indiscriminate. Sometimes humans don’t want to help others because we feel people aren’t deserving. We know what they do with their money, don’t we? But with strangers, you can give easily, because you don’t know what assholes they really are, or any of those judgmental things that keep us from helping people when we should. Even better, giving to strangers allows the advantage of avoiding that awkward tension that ekes its way in when you give to someone you know and they feel like they need to pay you back. No strings attached giving is JOYOUS.

Can you imagine your life if no one thought you ever deserved help? Can you imagine your life without any acts of kindness?

Grace is real. It cannot be bought, it can only be given.

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Has being the recipient of charity ever changed your life? Do you practice Random Acts of Kindness or Pay It Forward? Do you know where your local food bank is?

About joey

Neurotic Bitch, Mother, Wife, Writer, Word Whore, Foodie and General Go-To-Girl
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49 Responses to For Best Results, Give

  1. meANXIETYme says:

    This post is a gift. Although we do try to give when and where we can monetarily, we also try to give in other ways like you said. Being kind is free. Being courteous is free. Being helpful is free. I would like to count among that the fact that I (and you) share our lives in our posts, therefore helping others in emotional ways.
    One of the things I remind myself to be grateful for is the people who reach out to me in different ways, whether they know me personally or not. And in return, I try to reach out to others in different ways, whether I know those people personally or not. Giving (in whatever what you can) is not only a gift to others but also a gift to yourself.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I try to give to others as well when I can, and it is wonderful feeling being able to help someone.
    Lovely post Joey 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Josh Wrenn says:

    We do everything we can, which right now is very limited because we are needing more help than we can give…mostly. There are some nice clothes that don’t fit us any longer, and we donate those. We don’t resell them at some consignment shop, even though some of it we could. We gave time and effort trying to return someone’s phone…we didn’t have to, and it was a major inconvenience. Giving money really isn’t much of an option, but there are still things we do. How could we not?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    I need to do more random acts of kindness. We donate our stuff instead of sell it. It makes me feel good to know a mission can make good use of our old baby paraphernalia, furniture, clothes, etc. And I try to remember to donate to our local food bank when I go to the grocery store. But there are many other small things I could do each day, things that slip by me because I’m so lost in my own little world. Your post reminds me to wake up and make these things front and center in my brain.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I love this post. I try to live in a state of gratitude as much as possible. At crucial points in my life I’ve been the recipient of help and generosity that was so unexpected, and welcome, it boggles the mind. We do give but we could probably do a little more. I’ve been very broke in my life and I can say for sure, all things being equal, not panting like a thirsty dog for pay day is a great feeling.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. ouidepuis1 says:

    Thank you, Joey!
    Last Christmas (my first one with stepkids) we gave our two Little People anything they didn’t even know they wanted. They have played with none, looked at it only at Christmas, gone back to their pre-Xmas favourite toys. So with their birthdays coming up the bf & I have decided to give them experiences rather than some shitty thing which will be forgotten the day after. Experiences such as buying an African family a flock of chickens, making a food pack for the poor and/or picking out some of their toys to go to a kid who doesn’t have any. You inspired me!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I helped a friend landscape her yard and I received everything she was removing. It really was a good deed repaid immediately. But I never offer help hoping for a reward. I offer help because there have been people who went out of their way for me too many times to count and I can’t not pay it forward. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is a great post Joey. I do try and do Random Acts of Kindness, but to be fair I should do a lot more. There aren’t charity shops in Hong Kong or places that will take second hand stuff really, so instead we’ve started giving away stuff on this website for expats selling second hand furniture/home things. And it’s been lovely to know that we’re helping some strangers out in a small way. But it’s so easy to forget about this stuff as we get caught up in our day to day stuff — so thank you for reminding us all to keep that more at the front of our minds.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Sammy D. says:

    So well said, Joey. I was raised in a family that never asked for, and was rarely willing, to accept help. Hub and I are still that way. I don’t know why – it’s like I’m afraid a wall will crumble or the floodgates will open and I’ll suddenly be incapable of self-sufficiency. WOW I didn’t expect to disclose that. I expect that to change as we age and are forced to accept aid from others.

    On the other hand I do love giving and I’m better at giving to strangers than to those I know for the reasons you stated. I like random giving better than donations to organizations. Years ago when guys stood in the medians selling newspapers, Hub and I would go out the week before Christmas and give them $$. We ALWAYS anonymously pay for military, police and firefighter meals when we see them in restaurants. We do stuff like this because we know it will be paid forward. Yes, I know where our food bank and other centers are. We help them all. Thank you for stimulating the good feelings that come and the reminder that no matter whether we are giving or receiving, it’s one of the best ways we can make a positive difference with each other.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t remember how I knew you were a giver, it must have been on some previous thread. I’m so glad you give generously, especially to food banks, which provide for more than 40 million Americans.
      In reality, if you accept help, the walls do not crumble and the floodgates do not open and drown your self-sufficiency. What happens is this sorta elevation of personal empathy and a desire to ease the financial distress of others. I so appreciate you sharing that fear here. I hope you inspire others.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sammy D. says:

        Thank you, Joey. I know intellectually you are right, and I hope I’ve kept my empathy for others intact despite my deeply ingrained fear of having to depend on anyone for anything. As far as ‘issues’ go, it ain’t no big thing 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Anxious Mom says:

    Enjoyed reading this!

    We’ve never been the recipients of that kind of help, although I know if we needed something my dad would definitely not let us go without (despite his faults).

    When I was couponing (and going to church) I started a food bank at our church. Got a bunch of other church-goers trained in the art of couponing so they could save money and donate as well. My husband is always helping someone out with some groceries or something. He saw someone broke down last week and couldn’t help (as he knows nothing about fixing cars) but did run to Burger King and bring back supper for the mom and her kids since they were waiting on AAA and their ride. ❤ him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • First, awesome husband choice.
      Second, I love that you started a food bank at church. I love what churches do for the needy. I am not religious, but no one can deny that church-run missions are some of the kindest community places we have.
      Couponing for donations is a wonderful hobby for many people — gotta love that!
      Thank you for sharing your tales 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Jewels says:

    This is so good Joey, and a topic very near and dear to my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. markbialczak says:

    I give in a lot of little ways, Joey, whenever I can. Small adds up. Dollars, deeds, encouragement. Attitude goes a long way. We have to be ready to give when we can or receive if we need it. Great post today, my friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Dan Antion says:

    This is a great post. I have been in both camps, and I have benefited very much from kind acts others didn’t have to do, but did. I have also given, and I struggle with how to write about that because, like you say, it never sounds right. It sounds like I want something in return for what I did/gave but I don’t. So far, that means I don’t write about it. Some people could help themselves better than they are at any given time. Some people cannot. Maybe tomorrow, but not today. Those people need help

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Benson says:

    I like the cut of your jib young lady. I have always been fond of the saying “..is better to give than receive.” Good post.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. garym6059 says:

    Pay it forward every chance I get for all the help everyone gave me last year as I was going through divorce.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Paying it forward is what it’s all about! A random stranger paid for my coffee once, so I did the same for another stranger – hoping they would also follow suit.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. If you pay attention, need is everywhere. We each have to figure out what works for us – which thing it is that we feel called to do – and then go do it. It doesn’t have to involve money either. Maybe tutoring reading, or taking an underprivileged child under your wing, or helping the local animal shelter. The need and opportunity is infinite and I never feel as though I do or give enough.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Angie Mc says:

    Right on post, Joey! Yes, I’ve been poor, the recipient of much generosity, and I hope to have given more than I receive when all is said and done! When my daughter told me she wanted to marry Michael who was heading to grad school, I asked her if she understood that she was going to be poor for many years. When she said yes, I told her that I was happy for her ❤ I have friends who are afraid of being poor; I'm glad I'm not. There is confidence in not being afraid of money that comes and goes. There is joy in sharing abundance with others ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I was poor as a child, and it is a place you never want to revisit. But, a friend once told me “if you can throw money at it, it’s not a real problem.” She was well off but her husband has recently died of cancer and all the money in the world wouldn’t have made a difference. I try to pay it forward even if it is a smile and a held door. Simple acts of kindness heal your soul. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Outlier Babe says:

    Having had that perspective of not having had–it does add that perspective, doesn’t it? I think I would have been a giving person without it (I began life among the more privileged) but perhaps not.

    There was a bakery that sold dough twists for a nickel–about one inch wide, four inches long, with a half twist. I budgeted that I could afford three a day, and that is all I ate for almost three months.

    The awesome thrill when I landed a job in a restaurant: Part of my salary would include one free meal!

    Great post–both content and writing.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Pingback: My Worst Bit of Charity | No Facilities

  22. reocochran says:

    I have had “plenty” and I have had a car full (single mom with 3 kids plus 5 babysitting kids in a 3- seater station wagon) and got off the beach, driven home to my rental home to unload and find out our water was turned off. Scrambling and borrowing (begging) is horrible but I have been blessed with the kindness of friends, family and strangers, Joey. I have been good at bartering art for a hair cut, housecleaning and babysitting for car repairs. 🙂 I am a little ahead finally; but my youngest daughter has $84,000 of college loans debt, based on a dad who had a great job but was downsized and my good teaching salary. (Both of us make half of our past great job salaries. Divorced him and he still doesn’t have a car nor good job.) Every month, I pay part of her debt, $300. She pays more than that plus her other bills. Her dad pays zero. Such is life. We still tip high and give to different local places like PIN- people in need. I paid ahead on a fast food meal where a mom seemed to be like I used to be: harried with a car full of kids. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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