Monday, July 22, 2013

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ― Mother Teresa

I have already written about how uncomfortable I was at asking for money to take the General Secretary, the Presiding Bishop, and myself to attend two days of meetings in Arusha the first part of August.  I have always been uncomfortable asking for help as I am a creation of the John Wayne "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" generation and have always felt that to ask for help weakened me somehow.  Now my discomfort comes from how freely, how generously, how affectionately people have been giving.  The amount doesn't matter, it was how fast some responded, the words that accompanied some of the gifts, the fact that the gifts came from family, former parishioners, former students and teacher friends of my wife's, friends of my sons that I have never met--it just left me speechless.  The British have an expression for this--it's called "gobsmacked" and boy have I been gobsmacked.  What has already come in will just about cover all of our expenses for the meeting.  Two of us (not me, I'm too big to fit in a Tanzanian bus seat) will ride the bus and I will fly across the Serengeti to Arusha.  You wouldn't think a gift of just $10 would humble you so, but it has me.  People from other denominations and other faiths have helped--something I never expected.  Gifts have come from South Carolina, Arkansas, New York, Seattle, England, and even here in Tanzania.  I am humbled and have dropped to my knees to thank God and the givers--not for the money--but for the love (see above quote).  I find it is easier for me to accept money than to accept love--which is my own failing.  Those of you who responded with gifts, kind words, prayers, and smiles have given me a gift beyond value.  You have reminded me that, sinner that I am, I am loved.  I have written thank you notes to all those I know who have given, but the real thank you is in my heart and I don't know how to get it out.  You have made me a better man.  

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