Beware the Ides of March

Surely you have heard the title of todays post quoted before. Supposedly the day Julius Ceaser was assassinated, warned ahead of time by a seer named Spurinna. The “ides” referred to the first new moon of the month, usually falling between the 13th and 15th. The Romans used the Ides of March as a time to settle debts, which made me think about my personal rules for giving.

First, many of my ideas of giving come from a mixture of the bible, my love of surprises, and the warm feeling of helping others. To tell some of these, I will have to break the most important of my rules which starts with this.

Don’t Talk About It

When you can, give anonymously. If you can’t, really don’t talk about it. Or even think about it afterward.

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”

Matthew 6:3

The next part of that bible verse talks about giving secretly so God can bless you in heaven. Thinking of a reward, even in the afterlife, seems like you are doing something for the wrong reasons. This brings me to my next one.

Give Unconditionally

You have to give without the thought of receiving. Sure, it would be nice if I bought your lunch today; you might get me back tomorrow. But I don’t count on it. Today’s lunch was my treat, and it’s enough that some joy came out of it.

“Hell is other people”

Jean-Paul Sartre

When I was much younger, I talked to someone who used to be a flight attendant; she said she missed the deep-dish pizzas in Chicago. She also told me how this company would FedEx a frozen pizza to you overnight. Though it was outrageously expensive, I ordered one for her on the spot. I had hoped for an invite when the pizzas came in since I had also expressed my desire to try them. I received a “Thank you,” which should have been entirely sufficient. It was my expectations that made me disappointed.

Though similar, this leads me to the following rule.

Give and Let Go

You have to be unemotionally attached to the outcome.

Once, someone was in need, and we put some money in their mailbox and addressed it from a local church. We were shocked when they used the money not to buy necessities but blow it on extravagances.

Another time, there was a mom who wanted to help her kids, and when provided with the financial help required, she did nothing to forward that goal. Much later, I saw some spending that made me question her priorities.

Those might sound bad, but I’m telling you the fault was mine. It would be best if I were prepared for whatever you donate to no longer be in my control. While it would be foolish to contribute to that person again, that first donation is out of my hands—no strings attached.

In Closing

Remember, I am breaking some rules, but I do not want to deprive you of a bit of humor, so I leave you with this.

Recently a coworker had a child in the ICU, and another coworker set up a Meal Train for the family. I am clueless and didn’t know what a Meal Train was, but basically, you donate your time or money to make (or buy) meals for a family who doesn’t have the time to make them. So I went to donate. I noticed that if you checked the Anonymous box, it said the donation would still be seen by the family and the person who set up the Meal Train.

To counteract that, I set up an email alias with a domain name I wasn’t using. Ima @ (the acronym for SAM, duh!). I put my name as Ima and made my donation 1.5x what my coworker made in case she did find out it was me. Try to outgive your friends. Everyone wins!

A few days later, the coworker with the child in the hospital asked me to go to lunch. We went to Chipotle, and he paid for me since he was ahead of me in the line.

On the way to sit down, he told me someone had set up a Meal Train for them, and he couldn’t believe how much was donated with the child coming out of ICU that day; he wanted to spread the love.

So I suppose the other part of giving is karma, or the good things you do come back to you.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Anne Frank

By Sam Watson

I'm pretty good at Microsoft Excel but a freak in Google Sheets.

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1 year ago

This may be your best blog entry yet. Good read and good message 👍.
Side note, The Matthew 6:3 verse stuck with me the other day when you mentioned it during a conversation. Must be a sign.

Good job Sam!

Erika Lee Kline
Erika Lee Kline
1 year ago
Reply to  Israel

Def loved this entry too. The statement ‘ You have to be unemotionally attached to the outcome’ really hit me hard!

1 year ago

The best blog ever!!!! Right on target with your advice about giving!

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