Unconditional giving

We are approaching the season for giving but while it is good to give and receive presents, the most precious thing we have to give is our time. It is precious because we all have only a limited amount of it, but in terms of value to the recipient it speaks much more than a shiny present unless that present is something they need desperately.

Back in the mid nineties before I met my wife I was rather ill and had to have a quite major operation in hospital. I lived on my own at the time and one of my neighbours collected me from the hospital in London when I was discharged and took me home, which would have been an eighty mile round trip. He then made sure I was comfortable. Over the next few weeks he let himself in my house, got me out of bed one morning when I couldn’t physically manage it myself, and did all my shopping. He drove me back to the hospital for my follow-ups with the consultant.

I couldn’t have managed without my friend. I do not know who could have helped me if he hadn’t, but he did so it wasn’t a concern. My neighbour is an example to us all. He is getting on a bit now and helping is the other way round, though because he is so kind he has no shortage of offers of help for himself.

He got me through a difficult time and helped me to recover. From my point of view the operation was a big success and I was fixed up to be, I hope, useful to others.

We should do our best to give our time, which is what my neighbour did for me, but that which we can spare, because if we are penniless we cannot help others as we should. What’s more, as my grandfather used to say, giving is a selfish act because we get pleasure out of giving.

So, what can I do for you? Am I managing to do it for you already? What would you like me to write about which would be useful to you?

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