Every gift… of time, health, wealth, safety, experience, knowledge, skill, opportunity, and freedom… demands something from me.
But this “demand” is no mere commandment.
This “demand” requires no sanction.
This “demand” is unmoved by promises of reward (or threats of punishment).
This “demand” lives in a realm beyond the reach of guilt or obedience.
Quite simply, this “demand” is the natural child of profound honesty, humility, gratitude, empathy, and compassion,…
… recognizing every blessing as the precious gift it truly is, not as an entitlement so easily taken for granted.
… recognizing that there are so many others who, through no fault of their own, are not equally blessed.
… recognizing that I can give only because I have the good fortune of something to give.
… recognizing that I did not earn most of the freedoms and comforts I am so fortunate to enjoy this day.
… recognizing that “my” successes have far more to do with my privileged inheritance than anything I have accomplished on my own initiative.
Thus, this “demand” knows that we who have fared better in the lottery of life have a responsibility… a quite natural responsibility… to those less fortunate.
… that, when fortune smiles upon me, the only ethical course is to share my good fortune with others.
… that such “generosity” is not a virtue at all, but simply an honest accounting of what I have truly earned… about what really belongs to me and what does not.
… that such “charity” is the least we can do… a simple ethic of basic decency in a world rife with lack and injustice… so much so that considering it virtuous and praiseworthy should be cause for embarrassment.
… that it is a privilege, not a burden, to share my time, treasure, and talents with others.
In a nutshell, this “demand” is an audacious and humble expression of justice and love… impassioned by the recognition that I have so much more to be grateful for than to be proud of.
Next Meditation: Citizenship
A uniquely burdened and blessed citizen of the world thinking and acting out loud!