BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

To Give is to Receive

I have been blessed in every way imaginable.

I have a family who loves and supports me. I have two functioning eyes, ears, arms and legs. I have a roof over my head, a refrigerator full of food and a warm place to sleep.

I am fortunate beyond belief.

Which makes it that much harder for me to reconcile the fact that there are many who aren’t.

At most stoplights I approach, there’s somebody standing on the corner, all of their belongings at their feet and a cardboard sign in their hands.

Meanwhile, I sit there comfortable, in my air-conditioned car, my eyes concealed behind my prescription sunglasses.

I experience this every day. Yet it still gets me every time.

How did I get so lucky? What did I do to deserve this? Why am I succeeding while so many are suffering?

I don’t know. That’s a question for a higher power, or someone a lot smarter than I am.

But as that old proverb states, to whom much is given, much is required.

Which is why I’ve made it a requirement that I do something to give back.

So one Saturday morning a month, my wife and I now volunteer at the local food bank.

We sort items, staff assembly lines and pack meal boxes for hungry seniors and children.

It’s not much, and I know I could/should do more. But it is satisfying.

While my alarm goes off just as early as it does during the workweek — meaning I’m just as tired — I don’t have nearly as hard a time getting out of bed.

Because unlike every other day, my focus, my energy, my life is about something beyond myself, even if it’s only for a few hours.

It feels different when you’re making a difference. And though the work we do is aimed at benefitting other people, it’s become clear I’m an equal beneficiary.

*****

This article originally appeared on 100 Naked Words.

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