I like charity. It used to be a common word. The three cardinal virtues were Faith, Hope, and Charity. Then the word, charity, got a bad reputation and receiving charity hurt people's self-esteem so it was changed to Faith, Hope, and Love.
The words are interchangeable. Charity comes from Love and Love begets Charity.
I was about to type that I had grown up in a very charitable household. Hmmmm. I grew up in a household where money was given to the Church, old clothes were given to the Good Will, old items were given to the Salvation Army and a donation was made to whatever charity requested it, whether it was money or blankets or food.
We were not so charitable to each other. We were not always kind nor loving. I have often thought that if we used our company manners with family, the world would be a more pleasant place. We see a stranger on the street, smile, and say, "Good morning. How are you today?". We see a family member coming in the house and we say, "What's wrong with you?". I'll have to think about this for a while. I do know that as I have gotten older, I am more conscious of the hurt my words can cause. I try to be careful about this, which those of you reading this who were screamed at and yelled at and called horrible, rotten things, know, was not always the case.
Anyway, Charity is a good thing. It is not just giving the food, it is providing training so that someone can be self-sufficient. It is not just giving clothing, it is giving a hug and a smile along with the clothing. It is not just doing charitable things, it is taking along the kids and grandkids so that they, too, can know the joy of giving. It is not just a seasonal thing, either. Believe it or not, people have to eat all year long. They have to pay their bills all year long. They need a hand all year long. They need a smile each and every day.
I am fortunate in so many ways. I grew up Catholic and Catholic Family Services was always there. It is where I went for Lamaze classes when I was pregnant with my oldest child. It is who I called for support when I was pregnant with my 2nd child and going through a bit of a rough patch. It is who helped my daughter find the very loving family that my granddaughter is a part of. But Charity is also not just Catholic - it is catholic.
When I was a very young widow, my sister's boss, who was Jewish (he died in 2011) helped me financially and emotionally. He did not give me money but it was through him that his lawyers handled what needed to be handled. It was through him that his accountants helped me through those first years. It was through him that I bought my first house. He wanted to make sure that it was a good house in a good neighborhood and that it would shelter me and my baby. He brought his daughter along the day we looked at the house. I did not know then, but I do now. He was teaching her Charity.
I see myself now as a charitable person. I hope that is how others see me, too.