currency takes many forms other than the kind that sits in a bank–or escapes with lighting speed from my debit card.
this notion stirred in my head–and my heart–the past couple days after being made aware of a devastating situation for a local family. a father’s 28 year-old son is dying of bone cancer and has decided the young man needs to go home to be with his mother and the rest of his family before he passes. both men are undocumented workers, laboring here in the states to support their family back home. a colleague is involved in the man’s hospice care in the tiny apartment here in Dallas and made a group of us aware of the need to collect the money for airfare to send the man home. in the process several people spent their time to visit the young man and his grieving father. a neighbor has helped the father care for him for some time. a member of our church paid for the tickets in a leap of faith that we could collect money from our church to pay the expense. another member of our church who is a reporter heard of the story and posted a story on his local news.
i marveled at the currency unselfishly being spent. money, yes. but also the gift of time, the gift of compassion, the gift of one’s witness. the acts themselves were simple and yet collectively, they create an outcome far greater than the sum of all the forms of currency put forth.
and then i thought…how do i spend my currency? i admit i don’t manage my financial currency well, particularly when mexican food and nail spas and resale shops are so prolific. and anyone can tell from my timeline that i don’t always manage my time well either–running from one thing to the next, up late, running late, never enough time to get it all done. and my witness–well, i don’t always model the very best attitude or piety or selflessness.
in all honesty, it’s sometimes just easier to turn away rather than go and look the eyes of the dying man, shake his father’s hand, and tell them i cared about them and would be mindful of them as i converse with our Creator.
yes, i went to see them today. i didn’t really have the time (which is why i’m just now wrapping up at 1 a.m. while miggs snores in the other room and the dog paces because i’m not in bed) but i went. i knew i could help raise the funds even without going to see him but i would not have been touched in the depths of my heart–at once inspired by a father who continues to make the tough decisions to support his family and crushed at the knowing look in his eyes that after tomorrow, he would not see his son alive again. so, of the currency i had–chiefly, time–what could i have spent it on that would have been any better? and maybe the currency of my compassion will comfort these men and my reluctant witness will encourage greater compassion and acts of kindness and charity from others.
because that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?
each day, we’re given currency–in different types and varying amounts. how we spend that currency is the challenge–balancing needs and wants, doing this or that, deciding among the wanna-do’s, the should-do’s, and the i-don’t-wanna-do-it-but-i-know-i-need-to-do’s.
and as i age, i understand a little bit more how important it is to be a good steward of the currency i’m blessed with. today, i’m glad i had people around me who inspired me to spend a little of it in a much better way.
imagine a world when we all did just that–a little compassion here, a few extra bucks there, a good deed in that dark place, a smile toward someone downtrodden. i know spending more currency toward efforts like these would change the world; i saw it myself, today.
may we all become just a bit more compassionate, a bit more loving, a bit more willing to give to others.
because you know what: the “gift-with-purchase” is worth every penny.