I woke up at three a.m. last night unable to sleep. I could not stop thinking about Haiti and the people suffering there. I needed a better understanding of what was occurring but to do so I needed some facts. Early in the morning I began posing some questions to my favorite search engine. First question: "How many people live in poverty?" Answer: Almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day. That adds up to $912.50 a year. 80% live on less than $10 dollars a day. If you are reading this you can assume that you are numbered among the wealthiest people on earth. But I wanted to zero in on Haiti so I asked my search engine "What about Haiti?" Answer: More than 78% percent of people living in Haiti are living in poverty. While watching the TV coverage of the earthquake in Haiti I had heard the newscasters reporting over and over "These people have nothing." I struggled with the concept of "nothing".
Not one thing. The idea shook me as I saw the faces of children stunned into silence trying to cope with the aftermath of chaos and fear sweeping the island. My next question sprang out, "How many children die in poverty every day?" I found the answer from www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats :
"According to UNICEF, 25,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death."
I pondered the question, "How numb have we let ourselves become?" Then I started hearing the reports of charitable giving. Over 8 million dollars were donated by people texting a contribution on their cell phones alone. This was extremely exciting news. It was apparent that we want to give—we want to help. Clothes began to pile up creating mountains in donation centers, grocery stores offered opportunities to give through their check out lines, avenues to giving were being created so that anyone anywhere could contribute whatever amount they chose.
There is nothing more satisfying to me than to give to another human being, especially in time of need. Crisis and catastrophes shine the spotlight on the needs of others with glaring clarity. But what about the rest of the time? What struck me was the extent to which we leapt to the aid of the Haitians and what also struck me was the extent to which I had become insulated from the needs of my fellow human beings on a daily basis. We are enmeshed in our world of everyday issues we deem important and while wrapped up in the minutia of our lives 80 percent of the earth's population lives on less than $10 dollars a day. The enthusiasm with which the more fortunate contributed to Haiti's disaster relief leads me to believe that as a group we crave more opportunities to give and serve on a daily basis.
Now is the time to begin to assess not only how we give to our planet but to take it to a more personal level and ask, "How do we give to our community?" I started to wonder what would happen if each person took an oath to give back something everyday. Give of yourself generously. Give of your knowledge, your humor, your experiences, your skills and mostly give of your heart. Create avenues to express love and kindness for your family and neighbors. Encourage tolerance and celebrate diversity and join in movements that embrace your beliefs and use their power in numbers to make a difference in the lives of others. Contribute time, money, talents, intelligence, whatever you decide, through giving you will help make a difference.
See your your world, your income, your life for what it is — abundance beyond most people's imagination. Catch yourself when you are thinking and living in lack and scarcity. Celebrate your life and reflect from your inner-most heart compassion and love.
I reflect compassion and love to my world. I give with magnitude of my gifts, my abundance and my spirit for there is infinite room in the world for love.