When we talk about giving, most of us think in terms of money or material things – things we imagine we do not have enough of, or just not ready to part with. Everyone can give. We have to be aware of the human needs around us and also aware that we are called to give, and can give. Everyone has something to give. It may be time, money, ideas, advice, empathy, hope, skills, smiles or attention.
Having moved around the word as an active member of the United Nation’s Women’s Guild for over 25 years, and, volunteered in fundraising and charity work for the less privileged women and children of the world, I regarded Charity work as ‘just being part of the Guild’s mission’. Things changed 15 years ago at one of our Charity awards Ceremony in Vienna. As recipients came up for the awards, and slides beamed out images of the poor disabled children, the orphans, the critically sick, the deplorable classrooms in poor countries, the rejects of the society, I suddenly came face to face with the realization that my little cooler of jollof rice and a few pieces of grilled chicken sold at the Africa Corner of the fund-raising Guild Bazaar, is making a change to some kid’s life, perhaps thousands of miles away. It was an overwhelming feeling as tears surged in my eyes.
I get this beautiful feeling of inner joy and self-fulfillment each time I sincerely give or volunteer, whether giving advice, preparing children for the First Holy Communion, teaching, or what ever. Giving does more than just improve the lives of others. It affects our own lives profoundly. You, yourself have experienced this beautiful feeling when you truly give of yourself.
“We may only be one person in the world, but we may be the world to one person”.
When my next door neighbour, Josef, volunteers to cut my hedges or clear the snow in front of our house while we are away on holidays, when another neighbour despite her ill-health, brings to me her home-made cookies, I taste the glorious effect of giving. These people are not giving me money. I do not ask for what they give. They give from their hearts. It may be worthwhile to note that these neighbours are all Austrians and I am a Nigerian!
In writing this topic, I give honour to all the volunteers that are always there during one crisis or the other in the world: the Red Cross, the Caritas, Medecins sans frontieres, to mention a few. These are heroes of the world.
Studies have shown over and over again that the act of sincere giving stimulates the release of endorphins. It shows that people who exhibit high levels of altruism, volunteerism and giving, have high levels of endorphins — the brain’s “feel-good” chemicals. Endorphins have also been described as the ‘helper’s high.’ Endorphins are neurotransmitters or chemicals that transmit signals from one neuron to the next. They are produced by the central nervous system and pituitary gland and consist of two parts: endo- and –orphin. These are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, meaning, “a morphine-like substance originating from within the body”. A natural way to be “high!”
With high endorphin levels, we feel less pain and experience fewer negative effects of stress. Moreover, Endorphins boost the immune system and improve health and wellbeing.
Though it is a fact, and God’s law, that when we give we receive, we should not just give so we can receive.
Giving helps build a more caring world.
When we give from the heart and make that a habit,we truly experience the healing power of Giving!