Monday, January 24, 2011


Life offers us lots of opportunities to be selfless, don’t you think? All those tip jars at coffee shops that collect spare change to donate to animal shelters or children’s hospitals are just screaming at us to be as unselfish as possible. As much as I love cute puppies or needy children as the next person, sometimes I feel like these small acts of kindness only demonstrate a convenient opportunity to be selfless, something so routine that we might not recognize the beauty in what we’re doing altogether. For a very long time I was an everyday tipper in the tip jar of life until I interacted with a Caring Coin-dropper that taught me to take a step back and appreciate every penny I give.


What a day! I thought as I walked into my house after school one day. It’s only Tuesday and I’ve got the exam of my lifetime tomorrow, two major projects due Thursday, and enough homework to last me into next year. As I collapsed on my bed, I marveled at how quickly an ordinary week at school could turn into a festival of insanity. I was a little grumpy after a pretty busy school day, but I knew all I needed was a snack and an episode of The Office and I would be good to go. All I need is a PB&J sandwich and a little and I’ll be fine.

Once my twenty minutes of heaven were over, I knew I had to buckle down and get to work. Unfortunately, my plans to finish all my work were drastically changed thanks to my math homework. When my teacher assigned ten problems, she forgot to mention that each problem was going to take an hour to do! I thought. Thankfully, a welcome text message interrupted my battle with my homework (one which, unfortunately, I was losing.) The message was from my CC, and it read, “Hey, what were the pages we needed to study tonight?”

Grateful for any distraction, I quickly replied with the information. “Do you want to Skype study for it later on?J” I asked. I really, really, REALLY need help studying for this exam and I know CC is pretty comfortable with that subject, I thought.

I was relieved after receiving a, “Yeah, sure!” text response. Comforted by the knowledge that my CC was going to help me later that evening, I armed myself with a sharpened pencil and resumed my battle with those unbeatable math formulas.


FINALLY DONE! I thought. Math, though a good fighter, ultimately lost to my iron will (and calculatorJ), and those projects never stood a chance! My triumphant attitude faded when I realized how much time I spent during my valiant battle. I comforted myself by thinking, well, at least I’ve still got my CC’s help for the test tomorrow!

I signed on my Skype account and waited for CC to sign on as well. As though perfectly timed, my CC called me just as I had gotten out my study materials.

“I’m so glad you offered to help me!” I told CC. “I know with your help I’ll be all set for tomorrow.”

My CC looked pretty exhausted, but smiled and said, “No problem. I’m glad I could help. By the way, I like your sunglasses.”

Sunglasses? Reaching up to my head, I realized my tortoiseshell sunglasses had been perched up there all day long. “Thanks!” I said. “Hopefully you can help me use them to discover the key to understanding everything that is going to be on the test tomorrow!”

Whether or not my sunglasses actually helped me, I’ll never know, but I was certainly glad I had my CC to explain to me all the concepts I didn’t know. My CC is a lifesaver! I thought.

In the middle of our study session, I realized CC was yawning up a storm. “Hey, why are you so tired?” I asked.

CC said, “I’m not tired, don’t worry about it. Let’s just keep going.”

“Okay then,” I responded, a little suspicious of CC’s comment. My yawn radar was up and ready to detect any more exhaustion.

Once CC fell asleep during one of my study questions, I knew it was definitely time for bed. Poor CC, I thought. “Hey, sleepyhead!” I said to CC. “I think you’ve done enough studying tonight. Clearly you need some sleep right now. I’m just sorry you didn’t have enough time to prepare for the exam tomorrow.”

My CC sleepily grinned at me and said, “Oh, don’t worry about it. I prepared for the exam a few hours ago. I just hope I was able to answer your questions. Anyway, I’ll see you tomorrow, Abi!”

After turning off my computer, I realized my CC chose to help me instead of doing something else (like, I don’t know, SLEEPING?). My CC knew how badly I needed some guidance and put my needs in front of his/her own. Although stuck with an hour more of my own studying after that conversation, I was happy to know that there was someone in the world who was willing to put some hard earned money, not just extra change from a morning coffee, into the tip jar of my success.

Lesson Learned: Selflessness is putting the needs of others above your own. While helping others in any way will always be appreciated, it means so much more to you and whoever you are helping if you make the choice to help others instead of doing so out of convenience. Take it from a convert from the coin-dropping style of community service, fishing a few more dollars out of your pocket to supplement the thirty five cents you got back in change will make some cute puppies or needy children very happyJ.

“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.” Albert Einstein


  1. Another nice one Abby. Here is a poem to contemplate:


    A selfless person,
    Is a rare jewel.
    Valued anywhere,
    Existing everywhere.

    A selfless person,
    Could be a beggar,
    Or a millionaire.

    A selfless person,
    Accepts everything,
    Loves everyone.

    If you can't find one,
    In your life.
    Ask yourself,
    Can I be the
    Selfless person?

    Grace Bagley

  2. Abi,
    The bible talked about a lot about selfishness. here is my faveate verse.

    Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3

  3. Abiye being selfless in today's world is so rare and yet we lack the realization of how rewarding it is when we take time to address other peoples needs. your wisdom is amazing, may God continue to bless your creative mind.
    love mom