I love coffee. I really do. I know I'm not supposed to drink it, at least not too much, that is. Supposedly it aggravates a certain health issue I deal with. But I just can't deny myself having some. Especially on those cold mornings. It can be in the low 60's when we first get up. We try to not use our furnace as much as possible. Not because we are stingy or don't want to pay the bill. But because we care about our environment, and we practice healthy giving. Yeah, one family cutting their energy usage by ten to twenty percent each year doesn't do that much, I admit. But imagine if everyone did the same.
And it's not just our energy usage that we try to control. We do the same thing in a lot of other areas as well. Like not using any chemicals in our yard and garden. We find organic ways of controlling bugs. And, weeds? Well, those get pulled by hand - and composted to reduce the amount of fertilizer we need. It's all part of our healthy giving, which can be a lot of fun, too. Plus, my wife and I get to spend a lot more time together. We can fill an entire weekend outside in our yard tending to our plants and having real, honest conversations.
I guess you could consider us minimalists to some degree. No, we don't live in a tiny house, although I wouldn't mind that. And, yes, we do own more than one car. But we are constantly finding more ways to cut back on consumption. And we are always taking bags of extra stuff we no longer need or use to Goodwill. It's just part of who we are. To be honest, I find it a much more relaxing and enjoyable way to live. Gone are the days we used to stress over all the bills we had to pay. We have no consumer debt anymore. We don't have credit cards at all. Besides, I'm pretty sure when I get to the Pearly Gates that Saint Peter isn't going to care about my credit score.
In my most recent book, Where Angels Dwell, which is due to be released soon, I talk a little about charity. Well, one of my characters does. To me, charity goes far beyond giving food to the poor, or giving away old clothes to the homeless. Charity requires sacrifice. It's not supposed to be an act that we do to make us feel better about ourselves. Charity should be selfless. I like to say that the truest form of charity requires a giver who is unaware of what they gave, and a receiver who doesn't realize they were given a gift.
How can this happen? Well, imagine you are having difficulty in a relationship. You're struggling to find ways to communicate effectively, or something like that. And then, one day you're sitting in a café, and the couple sitting in the booth next to you draw your attention, just for a moment. They do or say something that makes you see how easily they are able to do what you are struggling with. Not thinking much about it, you pay your bill and go home. But, later that week, you find yourself doing or saying something that reminds you of what you witnessed that day in the café. And there you have it. The couple at the café were the giver who doesn't realize what they gave, and you were the receiver who didn't realize you were given a gift. That's what charity is to me. That's what healthy giving is. It's being a constant example of goodness and light in a world so consumed with fear of the darkness. Not because you get something from this way of living, but because it's simply who you are. It's part of your core to be a light for the world.
This is the essence of Christianity. It's not all about being recognized for your powerful testimony. It's about leading others to be better people just because of who you are. Imagine if everyone acted this way. I think I know what we would call it.
Heaven on earth.
Be well my friends!