The day I cried
I once had a girlfriend who told me that I don’t experience life because I rarely show my sad emotions. I did feel that was a little unfair, I like to think it’s because I’m not sad very often. But it is true to say that I’m not the type to cry. In the last 10 years of my life I can only remember one or two times when this has happened. But the last time I cried I will remember to the day I die.
I was running down a beautiful tree lined street with the sun beaming down on me, giving me the all the heat I needed. I had my ipod on and suddenly a really cool upbeat song hit my ears. I was running well that day but this song helped me find a faster rhythm, I was feeling awesome! A thought started moving forward in my mind about something I had done recently, something that was big to me, and the emotions started to take over. All of a sudden my legs were powering over like Road Runner, the beat of the music pounding in my ears transported me somewhere else and this powerful deep inner emotion took over and the tears covered my face like I had just released a plug from a bath. If my old girlfriend had seen me in this moment she may have changed her opinion.
Before I go on I have to let you know that I give away 5% of my gross income and have been doing it for years. The only reason I started doing it was because a while ago I read somewhere that if you give something away you’ll get a lot more back. At that time I figured that wealth was important to me so this new giving strategy was to help me along. It was totally selfish. Over the years I haven’t got that rich in monetary terms but I’m still glad I started this habit, it has given me ten times more value than money ever could. I’ve always tried to give my money away in cool ways that help people in need; this is what lead to me crying.
The story goes like this: I picked up the phone and it was my mum with her daily phone call, if I’m going to be honest I tend to get three to four daily calls from my mum (gotta love her), and she started telling me that a girl she worked with had just found out that her house had burnt down and they had lost everything. Mum was asking if I had any old house stuff that they could have. After telling her they could have some old draws my mum said ‘the sad thing is that all the kids Christmas presents got lost and they can’t afford anymore’. In that moment I decided that I would play secret Santa for this family in this horrible time. So Tyla, my daughter, and I went to the mall and spent over $600 on this family for Christmas. We made sure we got everyone in the family something they would love. It was a cool experience picking out all the presents with my daughter.
A couple days later Adam, a friend of mine, knocked on the door of the family who had lost everything. He said ‘Hi my name is Adam, you don’t know me but this is for your family’. Adam just turned around and walked away to let them enjoy this small moment of pleasure together. When Adam rang me after he had delivered the gifts, he told me how the family were overwhelmed with what was happening and just burst with emotion.
So as the sun was heating my body and my feet were moving like Road Runner’s to the cool beat in my head - that was the moment I was thinking about. The moment I created something good in someone else’s life. It was one of the most emotionally powerful moments I have ever experienced.
So why am I telling you this? I live in Christchurch where we have just had a terrible earthquake and while for me the next period of time presents some uncertainty, due to me not having a job, I still feel I can help others. I’ve just given $500 to the people in Japan, people who need all the help that the world can give right now. I’m not giving this money or writing this to make you think I’m a better person; I could have quite easily left these things to myself. I’m doing this to make you think about what you will get from helping others.
We live in a time where our value can be measured by stuff we have and actions that put the priority on ourselves. But the day I cried I learnt one of the most important lessons of my life, by helping others I help myself.
I know so many of you have supported Christchurch in our tough time, thank you for that. I hope that you can find a little bit more to help those in Japan. Even if you give a little bit it can make a big difference.