Saturday, September 13, 2008

Give & You Might Receive

During the past week, I've been working on our "married" spending plan. On paper it seems like it will work. (But that's a whole other story.)

One thing that I put into the plan and that Michael approved was for giving to charity (including church). We have no intentions of giving with the expectation that we will personally gain something directly from our gifts. We just believe it's the right thing to do.

However, I recently received something because of a gift I gave...

In June 2006, I went to a Girl Scout Silver Award ceremony at the Pentagon and afterwards got to go with them on a tour. It was my first time to the Pentagon. I love tours, and I've always been curious about that mammoth building. So, this was great!

We got to go to the memorial room and chapel that were built where a conference room had been prior to September 11, 2001. For a variety of reasons (including the fact I live 2 miles from the Pentagon and felt my house shake the morning of the terrorist attacks), I've always felt a strong connection to that event despite not personally knowing anyone who was affected. So, while I was touring the Pentagon, I picked a brochure about the Pentagon Memorial Fund and decided I would give a little money to that cause.

Finally, in May 2007, I got around to actually giving a gift to the Fund. It was a mere $100 -- probably a quarter of a drop in the $22 million bucket. However, even if it was just a little, I wanted to give something. I wouldn't have my name printed or engraved anywhere. But I would just always know that I helped (even in a small way) to build that beautiful place.

Then, a few weeks ago I got a letter in the mail from the president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, thanking me again for my donation and offering me a ticket to the dedication. Wow! I felt so special. I like being a part of those kinds of things. And again, this one held a little extra meaning. So, I asked them to send me the ticket.

I took Thursday off from work and went to the dedication with about 16,000 other invited guests. I felt pretty honored to be there. After all, on 9/11/01, I was just the 25-year-old down the road who had the day off from my job as a hotel manager...who was literally shaking at the time of impact, not because I knew what had happened but because I knew whatever it was, was big. But there I was with all of these military people, first-responders (even search & rescue dogs!), victims families, people who had been in the Pentagon that day, the President and Vice President of the United States and members of the Cabinet...watching the dedication of this lovely place that will help with healing and help us to never forget.

I gave, and then as a surprise, I was included.

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