Authored By: Tamrah Schaller O'Neil
Do you have a career that enables you to save lives every day?
One snowy winter morning, a man collapsed after shoveling snow. His wife called 911. My friend, Jon, was on the team that responded. They were able to do CPR and he was transported to the hospital where he eventually made a full recovery. Jon says, “Unfortunately, most CPR events don’t result in saves, but when they do, it makes all the training, the lack of sleep and the sacrifices completely worth it.”
I am not a doctor, nurse, counselor, paramedic, police officer or firefighter. But I too can help save lives.
We are coming up on the season of giving. Often the topic with my friends turns to gifts and the commercialism surrounding religious holidays. The consumerism we don’t want to be a part of, but feel the social pressure and family pressure to go along with. How many gifts do you receive that you don’t need? How many gifts do you feel obligated to give but have no idea what that person wants or needs? Sometimes you just cross off a perceived duty. And when we all have so much, it feels wrong to receive and give unneeded merchandise. It clogs our homes and drains our energy by taking care of too many possessions. What is it all for? Is this really how we show our love and appreciation for each other?
Before you think I am Scrooge, there are times when I find the perfect gift for someone, and I am bursting with excitement to give it to them because I know what joy it will create. Those authentic gifts are so fun to give!
We all know it is fun to receive a gift, something we have wanted. Until it snags, stains, scratches; the inevitable decay of its perceived perfection. The joy slowly dissipates; it maybe lasts a few weeks, days, or hours. The hollow of want and desire cannot be filled this way. Because this isn’t what we really want.
What do we want?
Something authentic that connects us to other human beings with goodness. But what does that look like?
Looking into someone’s eyes when you give them a warm plate of food. Getting a call of thanks from a grateful program director for making a contribution towards a service that is terribly underfunded. Your gift will make an impact. Helping people with their dignity left intact when they are in a tough spot.
It is nice to be thanked; we all like to be appreciated. But the best way to give--the one that will make you the happiest when you pray, the most grateful for your life--is helping people who cannot say thank you. They are too hurt, too hungry, too broken.That is the single most important kind of giving. You are doing it because you have been given so much and you want to share. You want to help and you know it is right thing to do.
I give to UNICEF for many reasons. I am able save a life without being anyone those awesome professions listed above. They use my money responsibly. I can make a big impact with my gift. And I will never know who exactly I helped, and that is okay.
This holiday season—let us share. Let us share our wealth.
Share our time. Share our knowledge.
Let’s help in the ways we can with the gifts we have been given.
Let’s help the ones who can never say thank you.
You will thank yourself.