Oh my goodness. Reading through these beautiful, thoughtful posts brought tears to my eyes. You are all such wonderful people and I truly feel honored to be a member of this group.
When I got the card, I first thought of my family and friends and if any of them needed help this season. My mom and step-dad in particular have been struggling with medical bills and chronic health issues for the past few years, but as I thought about all of the people I love, I realized that they are all taken care of, happy, loved and have more than enough <3 I think that alone was a big moment for me because I am often so focused on my own inner circle that I struggle to find energy to focus on people outside of it as well.
After some deliberating, I decided to use $5 to give a holiday card and Starbucks gift card to the women who cleans our building at work. She greets us every morning with a giant smile. But on my way to work that morning, I passed a homeless man on the side of the road. He was snuggled with his dog and in that moment, I decided to do a u-turn and give him the card and gift card instead. When I handed it to him though the window, he got a huge smile on his face and said "God bless." While I waited at the red light, I watched him start to walk to the Starbucks on the corner. It's funny how things work out. (I'm still planning to surprise the woman in our building with a gift card in the new year though!)
With the other $15, I bought a wool flannel to donate to our church's clothing drive. The church is located across the street from a giant San Diego park that houses a large amount of homeless people. I donated the sweater on Christmas Eve.
It's hard for me to talk about, but the truth is that I haven't been as generous as I would have liked in 2016. I lived uncomfortably close to the poverty line from 2013-2015 while finishing my college degree and I think that the feelings of fear, pain and scarcity continued to haunt me this year. I still remember what it's like to ashamedly take food from a food pantry and survive on pasta for months and become a shell of the person I was. Reconciling those experiences with my middle class childhood and current middle class adulthood are difficult, but the Giving Card reminded me that I don't want to live in the past. I want to move into 2017 with generosity in my heart and help people who are experiencing hardships in whatever way I can. Thank you for the reminder, Rockstar <3