This week I sent Amazon vouchers to two friends. I call them friends though actually, I have never met either of them. Both are or have been clients but primarily I regard them as friends, women I know I’d happily sit and share a coffee or glass of wine with if we lived in closer proximity.
Both were delighted and thankful for their unexpected gift though honestly, I’m a bit embarrassed that the amounts were small. So why did I do it?
I recently read an excellent book which put forward the idea of glad-giving which is a system of giving in which you donate a set percentage of your income to others. It sounds like tithing, doesn’t it? But the author disassociates the two terms, believing tithing is a religious term meaning to donate 10% of your income to the church while glad-giving is the practice of giving away a set amount of your income to increase your sense of abundance.
He suggests the optimum sum is 1% – 5% of your income and that you give the money away as soon as possible after receiving it ie not letting it build up for weeks or months. For this reason then, I wanted to give immediate small donations rather than waiting and giving a more generous amount.
Though I know my vouchers were genuinely appreciated and unexpected I felt I wanted to apologise that they weren’t bigger. I managed to stop myself today but it’s made me realise how often I’ve not taken action in life, thinking my small gesture is just not good enough or enough to make a difference. What a depressing realisation about myself!
I know for my part how much I’ve loved being on the receiving end of small gestures and gifts – a cup of coffee in bed, some home-made jam, a pair of fluffy socks… yet might have hesitated to do the same for someone else in case they dismissed my offering.
Anyway, it was a great deal of fun to surprise two lovely people this week. I got at least as much pleasure as they did and learnt a lesson in the process.