Every once in a while, my spirit dips. It’s not a huge deal for me—through three decades of therapy, I’ve learned how to let feelings just sit. To an online buddy the other day I said that all my feelings—happiness, shame, delight, humiliation, joy, depression—are “like sweet little children, just hanging out in there, doing their thing.” I don’t mind them at all. I see them, I witness them, I hear them. I accept them and honour them, allowing them to be. I am kind to them, responding soothingly to their calls.
This said, sometimes any one feeling is intense. This was so last week when I read a report of one profoundly wealthy person giving away $100,000 in one day. I felt so stupid. So lame. So useless. This wasn’t because someone gave money away—I love when people do that! It was because I was already feeling impotent, useless, like my greatest efforts were futile. In short, I felt like—try as I might—I could not contribute.
And contribution is really, really, really important to me.
It is near the core of my very being.
To be clear, I do contribute daily: Alone, I raise a child. A child who happens to have the same serious disability I do. That’s a pretty darn good contribution, I know! It is deeply important to me, the most critical aspect of my life. And he contributes daily too, so my efforts ripple outward. Awesome!
But I’m always trying to do more—especially to help people who’ve been marginalized into poverty break through and find abundance. Between my own limitations, and my primary responsibilities (self-care, care for child), I can only do so much. And that’s what sometimes leaves me feeling like my contribution is “not enough.”
I know I’m in the depths of this perception when I decide to spend two unnecessary dollars “because it doesn’t make a difference anyway.”
I’m going to posit that perhaps it does.
…to the mother in Haiti trying to feed her child.
…to the man sleeping outside in the city nearest me, who hasn’t eaten a thing for 27 hours.
…to the busker who wonders if his latest two hundred hours of practice was worth it.
…to Raker Man.
We all need to know we matter.
And we do.
And it’s not all about money.
My own feeling of “uselessness” shifted when the young woman at the college coffee bar asked me if I needed a spoon.
She had remembered me.
She had seen me.
Two months of a weekly coffee “and spoon” left her caring enough to remember about me what even I hadn’t remembered about me that day.
Her remembering me changed everything.
I knew again that I belonged.
I knew again that I mattered.
Enough to be asked if I still wanted the spoon I had asked for every week.
Today, she called me by name, even though I’ve only told it to her twice. My body—weary with weather and caring for my child—filled from my toes to my shoulders. I felt happy, at peace.
Tiny moments. Tiny gifts.
We all matter. We all have something to give. Our tiny offerings make all the difference.
Today, give something. Know that every other person matters.
And today, receive something. Know that you matter.