Daily Archives: January 6, 2011

Making a Life, the Winston Churchill Way

This is turning out to be one of those weeks. I’m just putting it out there.

We all have our junk to deal with. Mine happens to ebb and flow and this week, it seems to be flowing like Niagara Falls. Caught up in the current are a few onerous family responsibilities.

But I’m clutching close a Winston Churchill quotation that a 50 Good Deeds reader posted in the Comments section last week. Christine reminded us: “We make a living with what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” She noted, “Those are words well worth following.”

I considered this, along with the resale value of giving, and wrote back about what I give to my family. “When I feel cranky because my family’s needs are squeezing me dry,” I said, “I invariably feel better if I remind myself they are living a better life and making a fuller contribution to our communities because of my help. In essence, that is ‘making a life’ – not just mine.” And it’s true, and it actually paraphrases something I’ve said to my husband more than once before. It’s hugely satisfying to know I’m adding something of value to this world without even leaving home.

(What’s also making me feel better this week: Jumbo coffees, and blasting the bejeebers out of pretty gems in online Bejewelled – it’s very Zen, once you get into it. But the family-giving thing, yeah, that’s bigger.)

Of course, the Churchill saying can be applied very widely, because there are so many forms of giving, and so many types of givees. It so happens that it makes me think of my family, but another person may recall the coins they give daily to the down-and-out guy on the corner. Yet another may be prompted to consider the hours of volunteer time they contribute at their community centre.

These are all ways of making a life. And, like I said, not just yours.

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