After most christening or wedding parties there is a custom of preparing something for the guests to take home with them. Usually it’s a small bundle of sweets or cakes, sometimes accompanied by a quote or a thankful message, to let the guests know that their presence was welcomed and appreciated. It’s a symbolic way of sharing with them the goods of the feast.
Throughout the last year I have been trying to cultivate a giving heart. I have supported various charities and community events. I was trying to resist buying new items for myself and my son in order to support humanitarian, rather than consumerist, objectives. While I was doing this project I was observing myself and others around me and one observation struck me very hard: being able to give, in many cases, does not really depend on the state of people’s bank account but on their perceived lack of capacity to share. I observed people who refused to support causes because they say they don’t earn enough to be charitable, and then I saw the very same people discarding goods that they had bought the previous week. How is it that we don’t earn enough to give but we earn enough to throw?
There are people in the world for whom what we spend and consume every day would constitute a lavish feast. In every form. The electricity we use. The food we eat. The many pairs of shoes we wear. The books we read. The clothes we have. It is likely that we are feasting in one area or another, or in all those areas.
The Nothing New Project made me realise that I feast in quite a few areas of my life, but for one of them I am particularly grateful: healthcare. Last year I was diagnosed with a life-long illness but because I live in the UK my medicine is for free. Through the Nothing New Project I was able to support many charities, but Doctors Without Borders (MSF), the charity that heals those who would otherwise be left without treatment, was my priority. The charity deals with challenging situations and extraordinary tasks, the Ebola crisis among them. Could you imagine yourself being in Liberia right now? Being a patient or trying to help? Doctors Without Borders are uncommon people whose courage is not of this earth. They deserve our respect, our support and certainly my feast bundle.
Where would your bundle go?