Posted by: highmountainmuse | March 18, 2009

Giving time

There is always more to give.

 

I look around my home and continue to find little things I can pass on.  Books to a neighbor, clothes to a thrift store, a plate full of cookies from an extra large batch.

 

That part is easy.  After all, it is just “stuff.”  An ongoing house cleaning, never ending as we always seem to acquire new things as we give the old away. But there is far more to giving than a simplifying of our lives and of the clutter around us.

 

I suppose it’s just part of human nature, a trait within us all that creates a smile as we give a gift. You know that sense inside. You feel good. I’m not saying giving is selfish.  We are not motivated to do it because of how it makes us feel. But when we do give, there is that special reward that follows. It is a simple way of making our world just a little bit better. One gift at a time.

 

I do not give enough. It has been a challenge to find ways and means to give, to reach out, to volunteer from such a remote location. Sure, I could send checks in mail or donations over the internet, I know… but what if I want to give the most valuable gift of all: my time?

 

Last New Years, the start of 2008, the three of us made resolutions not about giving up, but about giving. Volunteering. Finding ways and means to give of ourselves when we live so remotely was not easy. What could we do from such a distance that would still hopefully help in some small way?

 

The lover of the land that I am, I signed up for environmental program monitoring frogs on the mountain (yes, we do have frogs!).  With a brother serving over in Afghanistan, Bob agreed to mail over packages of our used clothing for the needy over there.

 

Forrest decided to grow his hair to donate to Locks of Love. He estimated it would take a year to reach the minimum required length of ten inches. It took longer than expected, but this week he finally reached his goal.  We had the cutting ceremony, and then trimmed up what was left behind. The long hair had become an annoyance at times, yet he had a commitment, and a responsibility to fulfill.  He chose to wait it out, and was rewarded by being able to present a gift representing time.

Before...

Before...

...and after.

...and after.

 

We stress the importance to Forrest of giving, teaching by example and by encouragement of his actions. It continues to be a challenge from up here, but with creativity, he finds ways.  Last winter, he was able to participate in the organized efforts to feed the elk suffering from the extremely harsh winter. This year, he helped out a neighbor, staying alone on their ranch caring for their menagerie. He has written the CDOW officer who covers this area and requested if there was any way he could help out from up here on the mountain. Unfortunately in this case, the CDOW officer has yet to write back. I ask myself what kind of person can ignore a 15 year old kid who writes with hopes of volunteering? There are always disappointments. Perhaps we should be hardened to such. As one friend says, we can expect the disappointments, expect to be disappointed in life.  And when we are not, we can be pleasantly surprised.  I don’t know if I want to go through life like that. I truly believe in more. I expect more.  And I’m willing to give more. So yes, I also may be hurt more.

 

And yet, just when we are about to give up hope in our fellow man…

 

A few weeks ago, I lost a two year old horse. A group of very special friends, a volunteer group called Paws to Go from the Fellowship Church, took their time to write me notes, simple words of understanding. When I received each one in the mail, it was like getting a hug or an understanding hand on my shoulder. It was a beautiful gesture and a great help to me to know I was not alone in my grieving. A reminder to me of what positive effects our acts of thoughtfulness and kindness can have on each other. And then, to consider what each of them might be going through?  There are good people.  I do not give up hope.

 

And so I am reminded of people who can give, even when they may be in greater need than myself.  And reminded what a beautiful thing the gift of time can be – even if it is a simple act of sending a caring note in the mail.

 

I have plenty to give, though I need to remember to take the time to give the most valuable things I have:  my time

 

It is so easy to find excuses; I do not have enough time.  Perhaps I do not take enough time.  But when we remember what a difference our time can make…

 

These are interesting times. Hard times for many.  Yet I see it bringing out the best in so many.  Perhaps we all need a shake up every once in a while to stop and take a look around and remember how much we have, remember how much we still can give.

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Responses

  1. This blog is a great giving! Thanks for sharing here. And…What locks shorn! And a wonderful commitment. It’s a significant gift.

  2. We can make a difference in the world, it starts with giving of ourselves to others for the purpose of making a difference in someone else ‘s life. Like your article, very inspirational and motivational.

  3. I appreciate you and your words. You have given me something just about every day, and I am grateful. What do you do? Just do what is in front of you…the path is the goal. 🙂 Thanks for bringing us along with you.

  4. Wendy, I think I do it because of comments like yours. It’s my way of reaching out, of trying to do something right. I have no neighbors here, and am afraid my boys get tired of listening to Gin’s Philosophy Lectures every night at the dinner table… So, I write. I always have. That’s not why I started, though. It’s a long story, but a friend/guest suggested I start, and I loved doing it right away. What a wonderful way to connect with people, and there are so many good people. Otherwise, I raise and train my horses, have a few cows, a few chickens, homeschool my son, and spend as much time in nature as I can. In the summertime, we have a busy little guest ranch, and outfitting business with guided trail rides, and we “dig ditch” in the Wilderness – I’ll explain that part later. But it’s a great life, for now… we have to sell the ranch and start something new. When that happens, it will be good, too. What about you?

  5. PennySue – what an awesome network site you have. Did you create that idea? I don’t know if I am brave enough to sign up and join. It’s fascinating…

  6. Thank you, JRuth… and yes, Forrest had such beautiful locks! Of little interest to a 15 yr old boy, as you can imagine. He was happy to be rid of all those curls. boo hoo.

  7. I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN BY GETTING GOOD FEELING WHEN YOU GIVE SOME SOMETHING .THEY DONT HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING JUST A SMILE OR A SPECIAL LOOK .I HAVE A SHOP AND MAKE A LOT OF WOOD WORKING THINGS . BIRD HOUSES ,WHIRLEY GIGS , SCOLL SAW WORK . BUT I LOOK AROUND AND I DO NOT HAVE ANY OF MY WORK LEFT .SOMEONE WILL SAY THE WANT ME TO MAKE ONE FOR THEM AND I GIVE THEM MINE .HELP WHEN YOU CAN .AT THE START OF THE COLD WAR IN THE 50S I SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN A WATCH TOWER LOOKING FOR AIRPLANES . BUT NOT TOO MANY ENEMY PLANES IN THE OREGON MOUNTANS . I HELPED TEACH FIRST AIDE CLASSES AT THE CHURCH . THAT IS WHERE I LEARNED WOOD WORKING BUILDING LARGE BOXES FOR PEOPLE TO CARRY IN THE TRUNK OF THERE CAR .ENOUGH SUPPLYS FOR ANY EMERGENCY .MY GOAL IN LIFE IS A SAYING I HEARD MANY YEARS AGO ” ALWAYS TRY TO BE THE PERSON YOUR DOG THINKS YOU ARE” .
    WHAT IS THIS ABOUT SELLING YOUR RANCH .
    I LIVE IN A LARGE CITY BECAUSE OF CIRCOMSTANCE NOT WANT . IF THE WIFE GETS SO WE CAN LEAVE WE ARE BACK TO OREGON .
    IF YOU HAVE TO SELL IT MUST BE ONE OF LIFES HARDEST CHALLENGS .KEEP UP YOR SITE IT IS ONE BRIGHT SPOT IN A VERY DARK WORLD . I HAVE A GRANDSON IN IRAQ ON HIS SECOND TOUR I PRAY FOR HIS AND ALL OUR TROOPS SAFETY EVERY DAY. I WILL READ YOUR MUSE EVERY KKNIGHT INSTEAD OF IN THE MORENING . A VERY GOOD END TO A TROUBLED DAY

  8. Past my bedtime, but happy to see your note, Don. I fear you work too late… Will write more in the morning, though you may not see it until night, but I can turn in now with good thoughts, knowing there are good people, and it’s really a pretty good world, isn’t it?
    And the Red Tail Hawk circled over the ranch today, having returned to the mountain, right on time.

  9. Gin, this is beautiful. I get such a sense of peace from your post. Clearly you are raising a wonderful son, that he would grow his hair for charity is so incredibly heartwarming. Thank you! Jane

  10. I moved to Vermont to pursue my interest in herb-lore, and to garden. I participate in the local farmer’s market and raise chickens…sell some eggs. With the horses I will train Hope, and try to learn what I don’t know from Buddy, and pass anything I know/learn to clients. Every step along the way recently has been full of uncertainty – where’s the money coming from/ what are our choices/ etc. So, I have been at that ‘place between’ for about three years now.

    We are always asking for clear guidence, because it can be so hard to figure out the next step – unfortunately, the answers have meant long periods of separtion, periods of desperation, and lots of wondering if we got it wrong. And getting clear answers for us has meant that there are no options, but the one we’re supposed to take (we’re that dense :)).

    I hope for the best for you and your family, and your mountain escape.

  11. Wendy, Once again, sometimes I wish Vermont was closer, because it would be much easier to down at the kitchen table and just talk. Life in Limbo. It sounds like we are both living life with our feet firmly planted… in the air. For now. The ground will bring us back, the land will heal us, if we remain committed to her, to ourselves, to our families. It is so hard to see the right path sometimes. On one hand, we can do anything. On the other, there is one path that is best for each of us. Finding that is a confusing, frustrating and overwhelming challenge at times. But you know how it feels when we’re on it. We fill inside in such a wonderful way… let me think of the words… oh, you know, like running on the back of horse you are certain will take care of you… One thing to remember, you’re not alone. My challenges are different, but somehow similar. We can listen to each other, share, help each other through, if in no other way than just reading.

  12. highmountainmuse, Thank you for the good comments about our website. We have just launched the site, very anxious to see the results of our long hours of hard work for the past year. Hope you do give it a try. Our site will be for the benefit of helping others to achieve goals/resolutions they have set out to accomplish, we give them the resources, plus blogs for motivational & inspirational support. Basic membership is FREE. Hope to see you on the site. Thank you again & thank you for an interesting article. I will continue to keep up with your blog and your articles.

  13. How beautifully said… The hubby & I both have done locks for love; I tease him that some little girl is so pleased with her wig of black curls. Good for Forrest!

    It is so very true that in these hard times it is inspiring to see humanity at its best; making sure our neighbors neither freeze nor starve.

    I find every year that there is always excess from the gardens. I tried donating what I couldn’t preserve or sell (& extra eggs) to the local food pantry. They wouldn’t take it because it wasn’t packaged! How sad! Luckily a local church was more than greatful for fresh, local, organic foods and I was pleased that it didn’t go to waste and I was able to provide for members of my community…

  14. Gin, I’m just getting caught up from my trip to Lubbock but just had to comment on this one. Really, if you think about it, our time is the most precious asset we have and giving it is the most wonderful gift of all. And what often feels like a sacrifice at first does become the most rewarding thing. Like you said, we don’t do things for recognition or for feeling good but often that is a side effect of giving of ourselves. And, occasionally giving of ourselves results in heartache and pain but I have found the good feelings always outnumber the bad.

    By writing your blog you are giving so much to us as a community and we are all so often blessed by your words. Probably even more than you think because I bet there are a lot of people who read and never comment…thank you for sharing yourself with us!

    “It is in giving that we receive” St. Francis of Assisi

  15. Welcome back, Karen. Hope your trip to Lubbock with Cody was a great one. You were obviously on my mind in writing this one… I hope I did a little bit of thanks for all the hard and loving work you do.

  16. It is so wonderful reading all the posts within this blog. Its good to hear all the good different people do for one another. We hear so many bad happenings in the world today. Keep the “Good” comments coming. Thank you and God Bless each of you.

  17. Where did everyone go ? I do know that everyone of you are there somewhere making a difference in the world. Working on goals/ resolutions at determined2.com.


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