Surely there is personal gain in all we do? When we work, we shop, we cook, we go on holiday, we go out, enjoy ourselves, we marry, we have children, it is for personal fulfilment and gain. Even when we volunteer to help others, we get satisfaction and fulfilment. Personal gain?
One of our volunteers has recently left us to live on a remote island in the Pacific. In her first message back, she told us about a good friend of hers, she said “On a very frugal budget where personal gain is not an objective, he is engaging people who live off the land to grow a cash crop that gives them enough money to send their children to school.”
Those few words, “where personal gain is not an objective” jumped off the page. Here is a man who gives his time, subsidises the livelihood of others, on a frugal budget, giving his ability and the little he has. That is his life.
How can we possibly be so selfless that there is no “personal gain”? The very idea of a man, living and working on a remote island to benefit others, to help farmers educate their children and learn how to support themselves, is incredibly inspiring, a breath of fresh air, a life to aspire to. If only we could throw away the chains that bind us to the western world of consumerism, how much more fulfilling our lives would be?
But is it so hard? Do we need to escape to our own Pacific island to find a haven of inner peace and lose the threads of guilt. No. There is no need to feel guilt about doing things for ourselves, or when we support our families, or even from the satisfaction and fulfilment we feel when we help others. This balance of giving, receiving, supporting, caring and sharing is what life is all about. It’s just a matter of keeping it all in balance, and that is something we in the west sometimes overlook.
Project Rome is about sharing, caring, showing affection, kindness and compassion, letting others know that we love and care for them, whether they are our children, our friends, those who live on the streets or at the extreme edge of poverty, our neighbours, our colleagues, the sick and the suffering. And we will all gain from showing and sharing kindness and compassion to each other, just like our friend on the Pacific island.
And if you would like to give a pair of socks, a monthly financial donation, some underwear, a sleeping bag, something that will help a man or woman living on the streets of Rome, with only the personal gain of knowing you made someone else more comfortable, please click on the links to the right of this blog, to donate or shop from our Amazon list. www.projectrome.org