THE CULTURE OF GIVING
Ivana Knezevic
176

I wouldn’t attribute greed to just the Western culture although that probably is where it is most noticeable but, since the very beginning, it has been survival of the fittest and ultimately people giving away their power to those that wish nothing more than to take, feel as a deity, and wallow in it all. Others, have given up their power by force or just by being sheep, or more recently, by being so cheap they are essentially losing all choice of where to vote with their currency. And, it is the most powerful vote and force of action, one has to rebel.

The things I own, which have the most meaning, are not extravagant, but maybe a gift from someone that is rare and relatively unattainable but monetarily not worth a lot, if anything; it was the thought and knowledge that I would appreciate it more than anyone, that makes it special. Or, maybe, just a belonging of someone I have lost.

While going through some horrible times a new friend sent me her angel’s wing. Once a pendant piece I wore forever till the chain broke, then carried in my pocket everywhere I went. When she found out she sent me one that bends and have had it wrapped around my thumb as a ring, every since, because of the symbolism she gave it and I believe. We both love music so I make sure I gift it to her as often as I can. Money buys the music, helps an artist, because is promotion and I do through Bandcamp. It makes the Angel in my life, happy, if only for a while but still happiness. I don’t miss the money, ever. Money is just a tool in this world and can use it for good or not.

I am certainly not promoting Catholic school but the time I spent in first just private school where empathy and art were important and then in Catholic, which was run by mostly poor nuns from Nicaragua, who made us do exercises, like be blind for a day, deaf, etc; when one had partner who was the helper and then vice versa and then to get a glimpse of starving, we were not to have breakfast, get a Dixie cup of plain rice for lunch, then no dinner. These were all small exercises but memorable. I was brought up to never waste food or anything and by spending most of my time with my grandmother I learned that some people are heard and have value and other’s are not. In my mind that mostly meant children and the elderly, because we were always left behind and no one ever listened to us. And it’s true. One of the greatest gifts you can give isn’t tangible; it’s to acknowledge someone exists and to really listen to them and actually care.

People, especially children , the elderly and mentally/ physically disabled, are neglected everyday, so, if one learns one doesn’t have any value as a person, then one’s values can become, external.