ntang (ntang) wrote,
ntang
ntang

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Charity

I've been thinking about charity, donations, volunteering, giving, all of that. They say it's the thought that counts, and while I don't think it's only the thought that counts - the effect it has on the world is a big one - I think as far as personal meaning, it is only the thought that counts.

To give you an example, look at Bill Gates. Well, don't look at him if you just ate, but focus on him for just a second. That guy is an incredibly rich billionaire, and he has given large sums of money to various causes in his name. But you know what? The money he's given means nothing to him. They might be huge sums but to his huge hoard it wasn't even a drop in the bucket. I'm sure he noticed absolutely no difference in his life after giving it, and that's why it was meaningless, worthless. Yes, the good it can do is worth a lot, but as far as what it does to my opinion of him, as far as what it means to his worth as a human being, it's worthless. I'd be more impressed to find out he spent a day working at Habitat for Humanity putting up a house for a homeless person, or working at soup kitchen feeding the hungry, or whatever. That would have an effect on him. That would require his time, his effort, his presence. It wouldn't just be a matter of calling an accountant and saying "Give $100 million to start a charitable foundation in my name, and pick some popular cause." or whatever the situation was. I don't mean to belittle his gifts, they're very important, but I think from a spiritual sense they're absolutely meaningless.

I think that's also why my occasional attempts at online volunteering and giving have felt so pointless. I haven't accomplished anything with them, and moreover, I haven't GIVEN anything of myself other than a few hours surfing the web, reading and replying to emails, and the like. I do that sort of shit anyways, and that's the problem. I didn't give of myself, I just flecked a few crumbs out from my normal routine in some attempt to appease my conscience.

When I was out there last week busting my ass trying to help, and in the case of Sunday working until I was sore and aching and tired, I was giving of myself. I was taking my time, I was taking my efforts, I was taking my measly strength and throwing it all to the task of helping other people, and in that time I gave more of a meaningful contribution than any amount of time spent online trying to help schools get wired or whatever else.

I've been thinking seriously of applying to be a foster home for one of the hundreds or thousands of children left parentless because of the tragedy. I know, I've been practically losing my mind as it was with two kids, and barely able to afford my bills half the time, but if I could give some child a loving home and two siblings to grow up with, and a chance to resume a halfway normal existence again, wouldn't it be worth it? It's incredibly important to me that I don't let myself slide through existence without caring and without giving. I feel very strongly that we all have an obligation to make of this world what we will, and I don't want to leave behind a legacy to my children and their children that I am ashamed of. I want to, I have to, try my best to make the world a better place. If I don't, how could I live with myself? How could anyone?

I look back at my childhood and what a spoiled fucking brat I was for so long, how good I had it, how little I cared. I don't know when it changed, honestly, there was no great revelation, but as I've gotten older and seen more I've felt the difference more strongly, and felt the need to do more about it. I have a comfortable life, I have a job I like, I have enough money to keep me and my children housed and fed and clothed and happy. I have no right to let this bounty go to waste, I have no right to let the strength of my position be thrown away. We weren't given strength to oppress but to lend a hand to help and defend those weaker than us.

I have a lot of advantages in this life. I'm intelligent, I'm hard working, I'm determined, and I have a reasonable measure of self control and will power. I have an obligation to put those strengths to work at bettering this place I live in, this city, this state, this country, this world. I have the potential to make the world a better place, if only just a little bit, and to do anything but strive towards that goal would be cowardice.

Sorry. I know this is stupid and cheesy, but it really does mean something to me. I just lack the words to express it fully, and for that I'm sorry. I just don't know how to say it that doesn't make it seem cheesy and stupid. :( To everyone that's stood by me when I've felt weak, or stupid, or angry, or bitter, thank you. It's meant more to me than you know. I know I don't thank you all enough, and I'm sorry for that as well. Thank you.
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