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On Giving

I started feeding a cat recently.

So it has been showing up at my door every morning and every night. Some days, I’ll open my door and she’ll just dash in, giving me a bit of a scare.

At the beginning, I did so just because I sort of felt like it. I went to the store and bought cat food (even though I technically do not own a cat) in the event that one, two, or more happened to stroll through, which is an event that happens way more often than one would think. Later on it became more of an expectation. This cat, whom I’ve named Buster because she kind of “busts” on in whenever she feels like it, looks at me and starts meowing and rubbing against me as if to say that it’s time to get moving and roll out the kibble. She even remembers where it is kept, will sit and wait for me to come back down from upstairs, and give me a look as though I owe it to her.

And to be honest, this look has gotten a little on my nerves.

Mostly because, to be clear, I don’t “owe” her anything. We don’t even really know each other that well. The only reason she hangs out with me is to get food. Is she just using me? It’s not like I have a lot of money. I’m a volunteer for chrissakes. This train of thought continued until the day I ran out and had to decide whether or not I had it in me to go out and buy some more. It would be totally reasonable to stop this right here, right now. But then I got to thinking about the lesson she might be trying to teach me. Yes, this rude little grey and white momma that I am kind of maybe allergic to.

Okay, yes I am allergic to cats, but it hasn’t been acting out so bad here in Thailand.

We move through life giving of ourselves willfully. We volunteer our time, our money, our energy, and sometimes, our food. But oftentimes what we start to do with great enthusiasm and zeal turns into a task burdened by a heavy heart because we feel as if we are not receiving anything in return for our hard work, good will, and effort. Maybe at times it even feels like we are being used or are painfully, even purposely, being left out, unappreciated. And yet, it is important to realize that there is no one there that is really forcing our hand. What we do is our choice. How others choose to react or respond to it is theirs. When we give it should be because we want to. And if we decide to stop we need to think about why. Are we acting from a place of true desire or expectation? Because if we are expecting something in return, we will most likely be disappointed. But if we give merely to see the action of giving being carried out, then we can always find a way to win. There is joy to be found in doing good things because we want to.

Long story short, Buster had her first dish of little tuna stars this morning. Delish!


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