In Houston, a giver named Kenny Thompson, who serves as a mentor and tutor to school kids, donated almost $500 out of his pocket so that 60 children at his own child’s elementary school could have real meals in the cafeteria.
A world away in Ethiopia, the 90-year-old Australian gynecologist Dr. Catherine Hamlin–who’s often compared to Albert Schweitzer, Mother Teresa and other world famous givers who were known for having expansive hearts–has been nominated for a Nobel Prize for her life’s work saving mothers and babies with a horrible childbirth injury called obstetric fistula.
Dr. Hamlin, who’s saved an estimated 35,000 lives, recently stated at her 90th birthday party that she wants to live a few more years to make sure fistula in Ethiopia will be eradicated some day after she’s gone. (See here and here for more on Hamlin and more about fistula.)
Here in western Belize, a young Catholic nurse named Margaret arrived from her home in England about 45 years ago, planning to stay one year on an assignment with the Catholic Institute for International Relations.
This dynamic giver is still here after all these years, devoted to patients at her Good Shepherd Clinic in the ancient Mayan village of San Jose Succotz. (Check out this video from 2009 for more on her and her assistant Christina…)
I’ve always noticed that the happiest, most contented and peaceful people I’ve ever met, or had the pleasure of knowing, were people who are all about living to give. The guy Kenny in Houston who mentors and tutors school kids–and who dug in his pocket so 60 kids could eat–appears to be a rather happy and well-adjusted guy indeed.
Something tells me that Dr. Hamlin, the physician who has devoted her life to saving lives in an African country, appears to be 90-years-young, as opposed to 90 years old, because she’s such a generous giver.
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And then there’s “the Good Shepherd” nurse who left home in England as a young woman and whose young assistant left home in Pennsylvania, right down the road from me in the Belizean village where I once lived, whose faces seem to shine from all the good works they do.
“It is well with those who deal generously and lend, who conduct their affairs with justice,” the Psalmist sings in Psalm 112. And the Apostle Paul famously said that it is better to give than to receive.
I’ve known people who say there is no God, who say there is no meaning or purpose to life, that you’re born and you die and you go back to the great cosmic soup and that’s that. “Life’s a bitch (And then you die),” a once-prolific bumper sticker used to say.
But you can have that old-time existential dread because living is for giving and that’s that.
The givers, whose faces are seemingly always glowing and shining a light in even the darkest of corners, are always the brightest and happiest, the healthiest and the best around.
Let us now give praise to the givers.