The Power Of Giving In Pandemic Times
It happened one morning. The sound of a piano and a female voice floated towards our balcony, filling the apartment, and every day until we were allowed to leave our homes, we were greeted by that sound. I’ll never forget that woman who decided to pick up her microphone and perform for us from her window to make lockdown more bearable. (I talked about that story here).
What’s amazing about these demonstrations is their contagious energy. Our creative contributions have a ripple effect, filling others with an overpowering desire to give to the world as well. Listening to this woman sing, I too felt the need to offer a piece of myself.
The idea just popped up in my head: I’ll make a collage for my neighbours! I went through the few magazines I had at home, picked a bunch of flowers that had fallen off my plants and created a simple message to cheer up these people who lived in my building whose lives I barely knew about. Then I put it up on the landing.
Translation: "Hi neighbours! We just wanted to send you all encouragement and we hope you're okay. Not long now before we can come out of the fishbowl..."
And then something beautiful happened. One by one, my neighbours reacted by putting something up on the wall as well. Some had their kids draw something. Some offered help to anyone who needed it. Some got creative as well and did some crafting. I felt so much love every time I went out to buy food and saw a new poster on the landing.
It’s been six months since we came out of lockdown and the city is, once again, busy and noisy, and I feel invisible until I crash into someone with the added stress of having to keep physical distancing. I admit I have lost that feeling of connection, and I’ve been so overwhelmed by noise and crowds that the last thing I wanted to do was give more of myself to others. Until my washing machine broke.
I turned it on one morning and the water just ran down the balcony onto my neighbours’ patio. They didn’t seem bothered by this but my partner and I got an inspired idea to make up for it anyway. He’s the baker in our little family, so he baked chocolate muffins for them. But did we just knock on their door and give them to them? Oh no, not two introverts.
It was two little girls who inspired the next step. We were walking on the street when we heard them shouting from their balcony, high above us, and dangling a rope with a piece of paper at the end. They were saying, “take it, it’s a beautiful message!” A woman took it as the girls yelled, “have a lovely day!” I don’t know what the message said but their loving energy put a smile on every person on that street. Some even clapped. It was magical.
So we followed their example. We put the muffins in a paper bag with a note, attached the bag to a rope and hung it from our balcony so they could reach it from their patio. A few hours later the bag was gone and we found a thank-you note attached to the rope.
And that made my day. Just that simple act of giving and being creative about it. We giggled like children as we did it and I felt connected again. Somehow, now I feel less invisible. There is nothing like these simple acts to remember we can make a difference in someone’s life, and by doing so we create a beautiful chain of contribution that expands beyond what we thought possible.
Because the truth is nothing gives you more joy than giving to others.
“Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfilment.” – Tony Robbins