The Great Giveaway
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Amen I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’” ~Matthew 19:23-24
“Decisions that have been made for the last couple of centuries have decisions made without the presence of a real God…from the vision not of God, but of money.” ~Tom Porter, Mohawk Elder
One of the benefits of living in an age of human-induced climate change is that we are given a continuous opportunity to be reminded that we are all intimately connected, not only with one another but with all of creation. No longer can we fool ourselves into believing that our actions and our habits of consumption have no harmful effects.
As we continue to steadily burn fossil fuels, as we experience hotter temperatures and more instances of extreme weather, we understand that we are bound by nature to the health and balance of our earth, a living source of life for every being on this one planet.
No matter our political, religious, or spiritual beliefs, our interdependence is a fact. We are in this together. And here in the US, surrounded by and consuming a vast supply of the earth’s resources, we have convinced ourselves that we don’t have enough. We fear scarcity and try to accumulate even more, consuming in a way that does not leave much of a future for future generations.
We can do better than this!
One of the great traditions among Native American cultures is the giveaway, a practice of generosity that honors the sharing of material resources to embody an ethic of caring for the common good, for the well-being of the community. Although it may seem silly or unimportant to consider the potential impact of this ancient custom among today’s highly technologically advanced society, consider the fact that Native American nations have developed cultures and societies that have survived for thousands of years on this continent, as compared with the less than three hundred-year old history of the United States. Truly, the act and attitude of giving goes a long way.
As we travel through the cosmos together on this beautiful planet, let us see one another as a precious family, entwined in a sacred relationship in which our health and happiness, indeed our survival, is dependent on that of the collective. Rather than asking if we have enough, let us challenge ourselves to ask if we are giving enough.
Let us grow our hearts wide to make room for all of humanity, especially those who have been cast aside, the poor and addicted, the homeless and incarcerated, to those most in need. Indeed it is from many of these people who society deems as small or unimportant that we can learn great wisdom. Listen to the elders and the children!
In a small and humble effort to reduce my carbon footprint and practice generosity towards future generations, I will be giving up my car for weekly car-free days. I started a new Facebook page to support this effort. You can join in and commit to going car free once a week, month, or year at: www.facebook.com/carfreedays
America, it is time for a great giveaway, to the world and to future generations. This is a giveaway of hope, of generosity, of peace, of time and energy. This is a giveaway of music, a giveaway of the heart. The future depends on our generosity.