Monday, January 29, 2007

A Parable of Sorts

I happen to enjoy parables. And I enjoy them from several sources. There are wonderful Buddhist parables, Jewish parables and ones from the teachings of Jesus. But there are also just plain old folk stories that teach us a lot too. Parables are told in order to teach a lesson and of course to learn from, which is what this parable has done for me, taught me.
This particular parable is from true life and shows a contrast between two couples and most will see one chose a higher road.
There is a young couple, 30 something in age, well off, living in a great big house on the west coast. No children. Each one a professional. They both have very nice cars but decide to get a third car because its pretty. They have a three car garage so it seems right to them to fill it up. They justify this spending by saying that they are getting an economy car and it only cost $20,000. Far less than the other two cars they own.
There is a second couple, 30 something, have a gorgeous home, two cars, professional couple, but they each take $10,000 from their accounts, totaling $20,000 and give $1,000 to 20 different friends, perhaps you saw this story on Oprah. They tell their friends they have to use the $1,000 to "pay it forward" to help others with the money and not use it for personal use. They ask the people to write about their experiences in "paying it forward". Of course there is no end to the joy they felt from this gesture. Not only did the couple find joy in this adventure but so did the 20 people with the $1,000 each and all those that received the help.
Now its not hard to see which couple took the higher road with use of their money. And such a large amount speaks volumes to us. But there is another part of this story and its a reminder for me.
$100 spend over a month on little things, wants. Maybe some new clothes when the closet is already stuffed, maybe some fabric when the stash is overflowing already, maybe some craft items when there are 20 laying undone in a box, maybe a few too many trips to the coffee shop, when there is coffee at home, maybe a new goat when you have 4 already, maybe even boxes of cookies when you are on a diet. It can be little things, but imagine giving $100 to the family in front of you in line at the grocery store that has on ragged shoes and a basket with very little in it. No need to look at them and question how they may have wasted their money and justify our not helping them. Maybe the kids are hungry because the dad is a drunk. Poor choices for the parent, but the children suffer.
My sons that we adopted, were malnourished in this country. I do wish someone had filled their parents grocery cart a time or two.
You see children in the store with no jacket on and its cold. Buy them one. 20/20 had a special with Diane Sawyer last week about the children of Camden N.J. They have dreams just like every other child, but they are also hungry and live a life of fear and pain. I suspect $20 would make a big difference in the lives of some of those little ones.
I want to be more aware and live with more intent to end the suffering of others, especially children's suffering as they are so filled with hope and dreams and keeping those dreams and hopes alive may change their world.
Somehow the $10 and $20's that just get spent on stuff seems to have a different value to me now.


smilnsigh said...

Beautiful, and thought provoking. Thank you...


Sandra said...

I knew that Oprah show was on but missed it. It was a fabulous idea. There are opportunities like this almost every day - doesn't even have to be with money. A kind word, or a hand on a shoulder might be all that is needed. Lovely post :-)

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