COUNSELOR'S CORNER: The season of giving

By Fred Cavaiani

Thanksgiving is over. It is the entrance into the Season of Giving. We begin with gratitude on Thanksgiving Day. The entire nation expresses an appreciation for family, friends, freedom and football on this 4th Thursday of each November. Our hearts open up to gratitude for what we have. We celebrate the Thanksgiving Meal with an open heart and mind. When we are grateful for what we have we begin to see the glass of life as half full. Negativity and gratitude are incompatible.

Now we enter the season of giving. We decorate our homes, we begin shopping for gifts for family and friends. The music of Christmas is in the air. We hear Christmas songs about love and giving, happiness and family, sacredness and reflection. Christians celebrate Christmas because they remember during this holy season that there is a God who loves us unconditionally and forever. They celebrate the entrance of a God who takes on a human form to show us the sacredness of every person on this planet. In preparing for this celebration we give gifts to one another. We donate food and money to help those who are less fortunate. We become more aware of the poor. Over 80% of the world lives in poverty, living on less than ten dollars a day.

My cousin and his kind wife and their two wonderful adult children visited us for Thanksgiving. It was another great Cavaiani celebration at La Casa De Miranda, my daughter and her husband's home in Addison Township, Michigan. My cousin, Randy travels the world often being In India, Turkey, the Middle East and South America and Europe. He experiences people from all economic brackets in life. He talked about the poverty in many of the countries he visits. He said something that made a deep impression upon me. "In the midst of poverty and in the midst of comfort everyone is the same and looking to be loved. Among the very poor there is such a kindness and warmth."

Then he proceeded to tell us the story of a ten year old boy who wanted him to take a picture of himself. In India the very poor love to have their pictures taken by people with phones. They aren't asking to have the picture but just to see the picture. So my cousin, Randy followed this little boy who wanted a picture taken, down one small dark street, going one way and then another. He was getting a bit worried as he had separated from his group. The street came to an open market where people were selling things. The boy brought Randy to a booth where an old woman was sitting. It was his grandmother. He motioned for my cousin to take a picture of him with his grandmother. Randy did this and a big grin came over the young boy as he saw a picture of him and his grandmother. It was an act of love all around. An act of love by the little boy who wanted to have his grandmother see a picture of herself with him. (A picture that they would only see for a couple of minutes) It was an act of love by my cousin, leaving the safety of his group to follow this little boy. Yet everyone benefited by these simple gestures of kindness.

This story will stay with me forever. Everyone is searching for love and kindness. Kind acts bring loving light into a world that can often seem dark and dismal. These kind acts can happen anywhere and at any time.

The next four weeks are a time to bring more kindness and love into our part of the world. It is also a time to be generous in donating time, energy and money to help those in other parts of the world. The gratitude of Thanksgiving leads to the generosity of Christmas. If we can be grateful for each moment of life, it will be easy to become more generous each moment of life.

This Thanksgiving I watched my wife and daughters prepare a fabulous meal for all of us. I watched my cousin and his family drive from Chicago to Detroit, attend the Lion's game with my son and myself, celebrate a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with us and then return home to Chicago that very same evening. Yet during all this time no one seemed in a rush and everyone enjoyed each other's company.

Maybe this is what the world needs most - not to be in a rush and to enjoy each other's company. Gratitude and generosity are the two foundations for a happy life. When I am grateful I will become generous. I will slow down and enjoy your company. Then the whole world can become my company. Maybe this is the purpose of Christmas celebration.

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Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.

Published: Tue, Nov 27, 2012

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