This week I gave some luck.
My family and I have stopped giving each other Christmas presents. We all have too many things already. Instead we just do a lot of eating, drinking and general merriment. So I like to give the money I would have spent on gifts to people who aren’t as lucky. One of the derivations of the word ‘gift’ is from an Old Norse word, ‘gipt’ meaning good luck; making this a great time of year for the giving of luck.
But there are so many people in need, so many charities, and so many worthwhile projects, how do you choose? Sometimes I just close my eyes and pick the first charity that comes into my head. At other times it’s the issues that make me particularly sad or heart sore, that I want to focus on. I usually can’t go past poverty, hunger and war as an excuse to give a gift. Things so far away from the luck that is my life that I want to weep at the total randomness of our world.
I read the newspapers and I feel despair. I make a donation and I feel hope. Hope breaks down the big things into little things that we can do something about.
I can’t end war in the Middle East but I can help to look after those that are escaping it.
I can’t stop drought and famine in Africa but I can help to feed a child in Malawi.
I can’t eradicate homelessness in Australia but I can help to feed and shelter someone.
I can use my money and my voice, the gifts I have been given, to celebrate this holiday season with peace, hope and love.
So this year I gave to Mahboba’s Promise, an Australian organisation that builds and runs schools and orphanages for girls and boys in Afghanistan.
I gave to the Australian Red Cross to support their work in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy in Australia and also support people who are homeless in our cities and towns.
And I gave to Greenpeace. Because if we don’t start paying attention to climate change soon some of the poorest people in the world are going to suffer even more.