giving as kindness?

i have often considered myself as a charitable person, as most people do, i suppose. however, i had to think twice when this ‘charitableness’ was questioned during a very trying period in my family’s history.. i caught myself wondering just how generous i really am… if i am even generous… if i wanted to be… if i wanted to give…


i wrote this short poem during that time:

don’t stop giving
giving at will leaves us feeling good about ourselves.
we pat our backs and carry on.
how much heavier is the burden
to give because another’s survival
depended on it?
how much harder is it on anyone’s shoulders
to have to give when you have nothing in your pocket?
no reserves.
the guilt. endless.

what goes through our minds when we give? what are we hoping to gain by giving? is it natural to want to give? how is giving different from plain ol’ sharing? i don’t have any answers to these questions… they still run through my head sometimes… especially after i have gone out of my way to help someone… psychologists claim that it is often the giver, rather than the recipient, who reaps the biggest psychological gains from a gift.