The Christmas Spirit – Chapter 3

Giving Intelligently
Annabel was waiting anxiously at the door when Shawn arrived home. He checked the car carefully on arrival home but there’d been no incident with the car on inspection. Probably because he’d found their guard watching it when he emerged with the one in charge he thought.
“Shawn you’re very late, the dinner has gone cold and children are ready for bed. Say goodnight to them while I warm your food again.”
They sat at the table in silence as Shawn pushed the food around on his plate. The dishes were stacked into the dishwasher and Annabel joined him in the lounge.
“Tell me all about it,” she said soothingly.
“Annabel we are highly favoured, I’ve crossed that bridge over the industrial area every day without any idea of the human misery that exists under there. It’s a dog eat dog, dangerous and hopeless life they live among those warehouses. Relatively safe doing business there in the day I suppose. But it would be quite unsafe at night as those people living on the streets and in abandoned warehouses are desperate. I was going to ask if you and the children would want to see how the unfortunate among us live, the one in charge of the charity didn’t recommend that unless you were taken there by one of their drivers and returned out of that area the same way. I think if we went there to volunteer the way we dress even though we don’t flaunt our wealth we’d be in trouble. Volunteers are mostly drawn from those who understand the mentality of those people and they are known and safe. I really admire those who manage that charity.”
Annabel shook her head. “No way you will get me or the children down there Shawn. Our job is to protect them, and you are endangering us all going there. How could you! I’m happy to make a regular large donation to their charity if you are so moved by what they do. I’m not sure our children are mature enough to even see that on video and be able to process it. When they are older you will have my full support as they need to have an appreciation of the life others live and their need of help. Not now! I think you need something to help you sleep this evening. She went to the medicine cabinet and selected a bottle. Take this half pill and tomorrow we’ll talk about this again as you need closure over what’s been troubling you lately.”
Next morning as they shared the bathroom getting ready for work and the children ready for their pre-school where Annabel taught, she took the electric shaver out of his hands and turned it off momentarily.
“Shawn today you will put this whole thing out of your mind for the day, do your work, come home on time and after the children are in bed, we will finalize this issue that’s obsessing you and then you should move on. OK?”
Shawn smiled appreciatively. It had been an obsession that needed all the help that could be given but there were practicalities to be considered and a realization some people are more qualified than others to deal with need. But that didn’t absolve those who are not gifted with those talents to do something to help in a personal practical way. He nodded and resolved to do the work he was qualified for that day and do it to the best of his ability.
That evening Annabel joined him on the sofa after the children were safely asleep.
“Let’s finish this issue troubling you Shawn. You’re not gifted with the talents to engage in front line charitable work. I know you! You have a sensitive nature that wants to but that’s not your talent and your children also need your time as they grow. However, you do have talents that have made our life very comfortable and we have more than enough. I share your burden to do something to alleviate at least some of the suffering we see on TV and the internet. Others know how to do that effectively and we have the money to support their selfless dedication to others. So, sit down and do your maths Mr Accountant. We need savings for the children’s future education, the house is paid for.
I’m not prepared to stop sharing gifts with family at Christmas as I think that teaches us all to be less selfish doing that and it’s a good example to the children. Once that’s settled, and knowing I’m also putting my share into our mounting savings I want you to establish a monthly donation to this charity that will support work they are doing so well. Will that make you happy?
Shawn nodded, “As usual you come up with something practical Bel. Now if you can get your act together on where the Christmas tree is placed, the time taken to decorate and all the work I have to do in advance everything would be perfect.” He ran laughing from the room to the safety of the bedroom with Annabel in hot pursuit whacking him as she went also laughing.
“I’ll get you for that Shawn, you know that don’t you?” She was still laughing as she retired to the bathroom to freshen up before bed.
“Oh yes, I know you will!” Shawn sat on the bed wondering what penance he’d have to pay for that remark.

“© Copyright Ian Grice, ianscyberspace 2018 All rights reserved”

7 thoughts on “The Christmas Spirit – Chapter 3

  1. Hello Ian,

    Signing a cheque is the right and practical thing to do for most of us hard-nosed people, I suppose.

    But seeing how money to some of these large “charities” get abused, I’ve grown suspicious and cynical. I know of several cases even in “squeaky” clean Singapore. Imagine an executive director of one of the largest charities installing gold-plated taps in his private office toilet.

    In my younger days, I rather write a cheque. And at the risk of coming across as bragging—Lisa and I have written many cheques.

    But with age, I’ve realised that the greatest act of charity is giving one’s time—a commodity that one spends but will never recover.

    Different donations—cash and kind (time)—best suit different stages of our lives.

    Annabel and Shawn made the right decision, I reckon.

    Thank you for sharing this story.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. My philosophy too Eric. Support those who are gifted with ways to deal with poverty, but only after doing a thorough check on their bona fides and history in handling funds gifted. Too many rip off merchants in our world today sucking off charity given in good faith.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice job, Ian. Your story reminded me a lot about a recent film that was based on a true story. It is called “Same Kind of Different as Me”. You probably would like it.
    It stars Renee Zellweger, Greg Kinnear, Djimon Hounsou and Jon Voight.


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