A Slower Pace. She wrote about an Oregon physician, Jill Ginsberg, who began a blog last month after deciding to honor her mother's memory by giving away a $100 dollar bill to a stranger every day during the month of October. She is unsure how or whether to continue her blog after the month is over, but I was so fascinated by the idea and her story that I went back and read every post. She calls the blog (at least for now) My Month of Hundreds.
Every single entry has been interesting. She is a good writer and communicator. Jill calls herself a "fifty-something physician" who inherited some unexpected money from her mother and wanted to do something special with the money to honor her. The story was picked up last Sunday by OregonLive.Com and now Jill has become something of a celebrity. The link takes you to the article and to some of the comments left by readers. What surprises me is how many people seem to think this is a terrible idea; some even find it reprehensible, which flabbergasted me.
It has also made me think of how a random act of kindness can be construed, or misconstrued. I've done my share, brought flowers to a friend for no reason, given money to a homeless man on the street, or befriended a stranger and given them food and other sustenance. I haven't done it for awhile, but I notice that since reading her blog, I look at the people on the bus or in the coffee shop with a different eye, wondering how each one of them might act and feel if Jill were to walk up to them and give them a C-note.
Thinking about these unique and individual lives, who are precious to their loved ones, and hopefully to themselves, makes me realize that we are each separate and connected at the same time. Although I don't know any of the people on the bus personally, I could sit down and start a conversation at any time. I usually follow the custom of taking a seat on the bus with nobody in the seat next to me, until all the spaces are taken and someone needs to sit beside another rider. If the bus begins to fill, I always pick up the packages I might have placed next to me so someone can sit down. I fantasized this morning about Jill sitting down next to me and offering me a $100 bill in honor of her mother. How would I feel?
It's interesting to wonder whether I would feel honored or somehow seen as needy. That money would certainly not change my life (and would probably be spent on a pair of cargo pants at REI), but some of the people who get on the bus at the Lighthouse Mission might not feel the same way. Jill embarked on an adventure that has changed quite a few lives already, her own included.
If you want to be inspired or have time for a good read, I highly recommend My Month of Hundreds.