Virtues Episode 2: Charity

Charity, noun.
1. generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless
2. something given to a person or persons in need; alms
3. a charitable act or work.
4. a charitable fund, foundation, or institution
5. benevolent feeling, especially toward those in need or in disfavor
6. leniency in judging others; forbearance
7. Christian love; agape.
– Dictionary.com, 9/15/2017

You have, so you give. This is your mantra, in all ways, all of the time, and it works. You are known for this. The feeling of giving fills you with a gentle warmth that carries you through your own struggles. It isn’t ever so bad if you have something left to give, even if that something is only your time.

You are asked for a dollar as you wait for the train. You open your wallet and give it cheerfully. The requestor, seeing the other bills remaining, asks if they can have two. You grit your teeth unexpectedly, but hand over the second dollar.

You are young. You are discussing social plans, or social standing, or social pairings with your social circle. Another youngster is mentioned; one with an unfortunate face and the unfortunate trait of having no discernible talents whatsoever. You gently reprimand your companions by telling them of a time this unfortunate being paid you a kindness. The table is quiet for a moment, and then the topic quickly changed. Later, this youngster will ask you for a dollar, but you will say you don’t have one. You do, and with it you buy chocolate milk that tastes sour. This feels like a lesson to you.

He wears the uniform of someone who has sworn modesty in all earthly things. He listens to the troubles of others, but does not share them. He is never hungry, never cold, never lonely, never longing. He has possessions made of gold that serve no purpose. He gently traces his fingertips along their edges. The room is dark, but for the light of a candle bouncing off of the metallic gleam of the objects, and the glint of greed in his eyes.

You do not know this about the man, as you listen to his directives of kindness and sacrifice. You do not know about the golden room as you write your check with a plastic pen. Ten percent of what you have worked for this week, dropped into a plain envelope, dropped into a small woven basket, and passed to your neighbor.

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