Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 22 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Mary Magdalene
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Letting go … and the spirit of giving

woman clothes mirror

Tirachard Kumtanom | Shutterstock

Regina Andrews - published on 08/21/23

Generosity and poverty of spirit sound so appealing, but somehow it's not quite that easy.

That was it, I met my deadline! With a sigh of satisfaction, I padded across the living room in my bare feet. Slipping on my flip-flops, I grabbed the house keys and decided to take a walk around the block. It was a good idea. The day was gorgeous! Blue sky, low humidity, and plenty of sunshine … even the birds were singing!

As I finished up with my walk, I stopped at the mailbox at our condo complex and picked up the mail before I went back in the house to start dinner. I put the mail in a little stack in our usual spot and flipped through it before I hit the kitchen. Bills, bills, bills … and then an oversize flier caught my eye. It was from a nonprofit organization, beautifully designed with bright colors and flowers, and the motto “Seeds of Tomorrow.” The message was short and sweet, calling for new or gently used professional clothes for women who were completing their training programs after personal problems had prevented them from joining the workforce earlier in their lives. 

Oh, I was so happy for them! What an accomplishment, and to be honest, nothing makes my heart happier than to hear of people having a second chance for a new beginning in their lives. Maybe there would be something I could donate? I was sure I had a couple of skirts or jackets that might go really well in an office environment. After all, I was working from home now, and had little or no need for any sort of office wardrobe. 

I had a little time before I had to start dinner, so I went up to my closet to take a look at what might be available to donate to these brave women. The first item I saw was a tweed jacket with three buttons in the front. It was perfect for spring, summer, and fall here in New England. 

I took it off the rack, remembering that I had worn it on my first day at my new job in the greeting card company. What a wonderful experience that job was! I looked at it for a moment, then shook my head. “Too much sentimental value,” I decided, and back it went — up on the rack.

Next I came to a row of pants. Black pants, brown pants, wide leg pants, straight leg pants, white pants, linen pants, cotton pants … all in great condition, practically brand new. “I can’t give any of these away, I murmured, “there’s no telling when I might need them — or be able to use them.” Without removing one item from the rack, my eyes moved over to the sweater shelves.

The first sweater I saw was a basic black turtleneck with long sleeves. “How versatile this is,” I reasoned, “let’s see if it’s in good shape.” Making my way across the room, I paused, holding it up in front of me while I looked in the mirror. 

“There’s a lot of life left in this sweater,” I heard myself, saying, “I can’t just give it away.” Passing the mirror as I headed back to the closet, I caught a glimpse of my reflection and quickly looked away.

I could barely look at myself. “What are you doing?” I asked. “That’s really not the way it’s supposed to be, is it? After all, you’re not the one in need.”

Two hours later, I had filled eight bags of professional clothing for the women in need and said a prayer that they would all have success in the future. 

Then I got on my knees to ask for forgiveness, and thanked the Holy Spirit for reminding me about the true message of the spirit of giving that Jesus brought us.


This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.

PovertyThe Human Being Fully Alive
Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.