The Mama Says Om theme for this week is: giving. I had to think about this for a while as it could mean many things. The giving of physical things, like money, food, clothing, household items and similar is what most people think about when they think of giving, especially during this time of year. It is a sign of a good soul when a person tries to help others by giving what they can, even when it isn't much. The generosity of children is especially touching. This is the time of year when those in dire straights need help most in this country. The weather is turning colder, heating costs are rising and many people have no health insurance in a season of colds and flus. Add gas prices to that and many individuals and families need some help. I've been there and it sucks when there's not much food on the Thanksgiving table or presents under the tree. It's hard to keep house and self clean without a water heater; it's hard to cook with a non-working stove and oven; it's hard to have a good home when the rainwater pours in from the rotted roof. Many people, like myself once upon a time, spend years of their lives living this way. And many people never get out of the situation, through no fault of their own. It hurts and it's embarrassing to ask for help but it's a good person who answers that call. During the low points in my families' past we were helped, not just by the state, but by local churchgoers and, of course, family. No words can express how grateful the recipients of charity feel. Although a simple "thank you" says a lot the sense of good will lives on long after circumstances may change. I urge you to give what you can and know that your efforts will not be missed by the gods or those around you.
There's another side of giving, the emotional side of give and take and compromise. In interpersonal relationships the urge to take is a common fault of most of us. It sometimes seems easier to take issue and find fault instead of give an inch and try to find some sense of understanding. In this season of rush, rush, rush and buy, buy, buy when the pressure to impress relatives and friends and the stress of many meetings weighs us down we should remember to not take out our stress-related angst on those we love. During this joyful but stressful season, remember to give sympathy to those around you and give yourself a break too. Don't allow holiday stress to ruin the season. Giving yourself some downtime is one of the greatest gifts of all.