Thursday, May 03, 2012
Today I am grateful for the OxFam representative that was standing outside Whole Foods as I came out with my lunch to take home. Usually, being faced with the clipboard people is not my idea of anything good. At first I thought, “Oh crap, he wants money and before that he’s going to tell me something sad.” But it was just him and I, and I had to stop. He introduced himself and then started telling me about the 3.5 million people in Africa and areas nearby who don’t have food or water, and about the drought that has lasted four years. While OxFam helps about 2 million of them, the other 1.5 million are not doing so well. I listened. I tried to offer him a small cash donation, and asked if I could handle this online, but he explained that while that’s fine, it wouldn’t help support the program in San Diego that tries to reach contributors here. He said they really need the monthly donations and that just $1 provides like 8 meals. I peered out from my $140 sunglasses, holding the keys to my new car. I said, “Sign me up.” As I was completing the form, I felt my eyes tearing up. I guess the weight of the issue hit me and sunk in: starving people with no food or water. How lucky are we? So very lucky. I gained my composure (put those expensive sunglasses back on) and finished the form to set up my small, but regular, auto-debit donation. He thanked me for my generosity. I thanked him for doing what he does. Sometimes it takes facing the sadness in other people’s lives in other parts of the world, juxtaposed against your own blessings, to realize how grateful you are for your life. Today was that day for me.