Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bob Lobel: The Value of Giving Over Getting

By Bob Lobel  @boblobel

Somewhere along the road of life, the season to be jolly changed dramatically. 

It has become the season to see how well we are able to deal with stress.  The “season of getting,” which we all embraced as children, and still secretly wish would magically return, has become the “season of giving.” Most of us are so ill prepared for this. The cycle of “guilt induced stress” is now driving the bus. 

We never seem to be able to give enough of anything, especially the right thing. So I’m launching into a different mode here today. Almost every day since the tragic story of the Remy family’s personal crisis that will never go away, thoughts of the family haunt me. I want to be able to help so much, and I’m sure I’m not alone.  

But what store sells the kind of tools necessary to make this better? What website do I go to so I can find some gift for these human beings to help?

None. I have tried.

It doesn’t seem to exist. These are unhappy times for plenty of people we all know. All the Christmas carols, and jingles, and sales, and wrapping paper and decorated trees won’t make any difference to more people than we care mention. 

That bright shiny stuff is a Band-Aid for the underlying issues that come roaring back after it’s all over. The fact is, most of use can’t wait til this is over so we can stop spending money we don’t have and stop pretending that joy comes in brightly wrapped packages.  

I feel very uncomfortable mentioning Jerry Remy in the same sentence as the Boston marathon terrorists and Aaron Hernandez, accused murderer. The common thread comes under the word “tragedy.” I feel we are beginning to overuse that word, like we do the word “great”. 

We can think about these people. We can say we pray for them. We can try to remind them we care. This is real giving and, as I tried to explain above, real giving is so much more difficult than real getting.

I just offer these words today to those people in need.   

Their need comes in many forms and we could all make this a better place if we stop the madness, stop the guilt, stop the stress and slow down. We all have it within us. It’s the one gift we could easily give ourselves, if only we remember what getting is like and make giving as important.  

Where do sports come into this? They really doesn’t. 

That’s another Band-Aid we use to distract us from the real stuff that real people are facing. I’m sorry if this sounds like some sermon or lecture, but it’s therapeutic for me when I stop and think about the Remys, and realize that’s the only thing I can offer them. 

What do you think they would want for Christmas? No catalogue or website has whatever that may be. 


Tim Coyne said...

Well said Bob. Sounds like it's right out of Dickens' Christmas Carol. Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

This was so brilliantly said, Bob. I wish I could put it into words as well as you did.

Merry Christmas to all of us, I hope.