My Admission

I am not hungry,
but starving; this inner need (or want), a craving
for anything pure, authentic,
and nourishing.

A sandwich or salad, unlike
what I have known, or consumed.

Only after I am sufficiently sated
will I be able to do battle another day, or sleep
without these images interrupting this night.
It is dark.

Ego and emotion command
too much space and mind.

Am I yet another ambiguous miracle, or
just another carney hawking candy apples
and games of chance?
Step right up.

The midway is crammed. Lovers
hand-in-hand. A noisy crowd.

Turn off the music.
I can smell the horse shit between the trailers,
sawdust, and aftershave. I can only
taste warm beer.

I need greater nutrition. I suffer
for having paid my admission.

© 2018 j.g. lewis

Charity Is A Personal Thing

We are entering the season of giving and, with that, increased annual charitable appeals.

Wherever we are, in all directions, we can look around our communities and see the obvious needs, in so many forms. Society is best measured in how we care for those who cannot care for themselves, and we respond with our time or money.

It is both admirable and appreciated how we give and to which causes, organizations and issues. A contribution is the match that lights a candle and allows hope to burn and radiate. Enjoy the glow. Feel the warmth. Share the light.

I’m humbled to say I give when I can, consistently. I give selflessly and without expectation. It is a value I treasure; a practice I learned and saw demonstrated by my parents. We were fortunate. I was fortunate to have learned this lesson early in life.

Charity. Empathy. Dignity. Respect.

I’ve taken on causes, supported groups and issues, and have seen the results of my giving. I have appreciated being part of a group whom, many times, I had little in common with except we all saw the worth in giving our time or money. That was my reward; seeing some results.

Charity is a wonderful thing.

I was recently notified of the launch of an annual corporate giving campaign I have belonged to for years. We all know a large workforce can raise a great deal of money, very quickly, through focused application. It is a good thing to give as a group.

But what happens when a campaign begins to seem less about giving and supporting a community, and more about promotion of a corporate entity and the benefits it provides within that community?

The emphasis is less about the good it does, and more about being good for business.

A corporation and its attempts to foster giving, to encourage philanthropy, is to be respected.

Charity is a good thing, but the moment it turns into a “look at me” or “look at us” initiative, the lustre is scratched off the patina. Charity should be felt, acknowledged, and furthered, yet a certain value is lost when an initiative or endeavor becomes boastful.

The expectation of recognition, even gratitude, for a donation negates the true purpose of charity. True charity is anonymous.

Silent charity is self-sustaining. It does not require promotion, endless reminders, or pressure. It is organic; both giver and receiver benefit. Charity is a personal thing.

Personally, I can’t support an appeal where the larger focus is on something less than the act of helping fellow human beings. When a charitable act becomes a number, sum, or price tag, the humanity is removed from the equation.

I don’t expect anything from a donation, other than feeling or knowing my contribution helps further a cause or group I believe in. I will contribute to give in my own silent way, each year contributing a little more than the year before, and I will do it directly. I simply, morally, or comfortably cannot support something that makes the giver a bigger focus than the giving.

I encourage you to look at where your charity flows.

Give. Oh yes, give; consciously; as generously as you are able, and as humanely as possible. Enjoy the spirit of giving, and enjoy it selflessly.

© 2018 j.g. lewis

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
                                                                                                       -Maya Angelou

The Obscenity Of Silence

What happens to the sleep we didn’t get,
words we did not heed, or tears never allowed
to travel down our cheek?
                          Those weeks, or months,
you refuse to speak of; what happened?
Then.
                         What became
of the people we didn’t need, or like,
or replaced? Have you given any thought to
what you meant to them? Once upon a time
fairy tale or delusion.
Shared.
                        Then, remember
the personalities or prospects,
the ones where you didn’t have the self-respect
to introduce yourself to.
                        Where was your confidence,
                        or willingness to bare your soul?
                Easier, is it not, to confide in a stranger?
Those familiar with your ways,
those who have read a few chapters of your story
may not understand
your reservation.
                                                    Someone back when
                       knew you well, wanted to know more,
                       then gave up.
Or was that you?
                       Emotions enrich our lives,
                       as easily as they can destroy
                       all we stay alive for.
           Is that a reason to hold back?
There was once value in vulnerability.
Now; well, you know.
          If you rephrase the question,
          are the answers still the same?
                       Long past a series of coincidences,
                           the obscenity of silence remains.

© 2018 j.g. lewis