My husband and I seldom agree on what movie or series to watch together. Opposites certainly do attract! I love dramas, documentaries and crime thrillers – he enjoys comedies. Especially sitcoms. Generally the choreographed choir of laughter irritates me but lo and behold, after many years some sitcoms started to grow on me. Knitting or crocheting while watching The Office and Big Bang Theory have provided many cozy evenings of chilled relaxation. Recently we watched Friends and one episode particularly stood out for me:
Joey and Phoebe entered into a long discussion about the nature of acts of kindness, aka charity. Joey stated that all acts of kindness are intrinsically selfish because the gestures we do for other people that give us nothing in return, are done to make us feel good about ourselves. And that in itself is selfish. Obviously Phoebe did not agree.
It made me think about the generosity of people we witness daily in the shop. We have customers that use their pension money to purchase Mirage 25g balls to knit beanies for babies in state hospitals and scarves for the homeless in shelters. We have husbands that drop off bags full of knitted and crocheted squares made by their late wives, to be sewn up for blankets.
A customer once commented that true charity only takes places if the giver engages in a sacrifice of some sorts – only then are acts of kindness true and sincere.
My take is that it will be a shame to confine or limit kindness, compassion and generosity in our quest to find a definition of charity. Charity is when we give our time, our talents and yes, our handiwork. It is when we look beyond ourselves and recognise opportunities where we can make a difference in people’s lives, albeit small and effortless.
In the words of Mother Theresa from Calcutta: “It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”