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ilea (my queen) with a child from an IDP camp in gulu, uganda, 2007

Philanthropy is messy. It’s rare that you achieve exactly what you set out to accomplish. The process often involves a lot of frustration, tears, frustration and lack of resolve. Let’s face it; changing the world is no walk in the park.

And if you’re dealing with people, it’s likely they may not be grateful for your investment of time and care. It’s also likely they may choose not to implement your advice or properly utilize the resources you’ve provided.

You set out to achieve something, and then, boom; something completely illogical happens. Someone doesn’t show up. No one cared enough to finish or do it properly. Or worse yet, someone sabotages the program or robs you blind. It happens, often.

You ask yourself if you’re even doing any good. “Am I crazy? Doesn’t anyone care?”

But then I remember that I’m not doing this because of my strong desire to do something good. It’s not because I need a cool accomplishment to add to my collection I don’t do this for a pat on the back or gratitude. I don’t even expect those things. I don’t have anything to prove.

I don’t do what I do to “get results”. So often along the journey of pushing for a certain result, I will discover something even more beautiful and pure than what I was shooting for. And rather than being blinded by my ambition to achieve the original goal, I’m always open to that dynamic.

At the end of the day, I simply do this because I care. That’s enough. I care so much that I can’t stop trying. I can’t stop being an idealist. It doesn’t bother me when people think I’m naïve. When you have nothing to prove, the shackles fall off.

I just keep believing that if I care enough, and consistently listen and act, someone else will benefit from it. And when that’s the only goal, it’s easy to resolve to the fact that you don’t need resolution for a project to be successful You just keep pushing, knowing that somewhere along the way, someone is benefiting from the love you are giving, day in and day out.

If I constantly give love, I can’t go wrong. And I don’t need quantifiable results or an impressive P&L to experience joy from it. The joy comes from the giving. We have a right to giving. But that doesn’t mean we have a right to reaping the fruits of our labor.

The act of serving and giving has to be enough. Otherwise, it will never be…enough.

4 Comments

  1. Ashley on April 7, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    This is great, and reminds me of how I’ve recently “grown” as an artist. I used to paint with the end goal in mind – looking at an image of a photograph or some other inspiration; I wanted to create an exact replica. But now I’ve discovered that my true art, and my best release, is in simply painting and letting it develop on its own. I have an idea and I let the art move me – oftentimes I end up painting in a different direction than I initially thought, and it ends up even better. All of life is a masterpiece, and what makes it so beautiful is watching it unfold along the way!

    • Jared Angaza on April 8, 2012 at 7:18 AM

      Beautiful! I have learned to the do the same, more and more over the years. I’ve stopped trying to force things, and have found so much peace in pushing in a direction, rather than towards a specific goal (as it relates to relationships, art, etc.). I’ve found that something even more beautiful typically comes from that willingness to surrender control that I used to hold on to so tightly before. It’s quite liberating. And now I’m creating more art in the world.

      Wise words sister. I think I could make a blog post out of your comments as well….

  2. Jason Ansley on April 23, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    The thing I struggle with the most is the part about people not following advice. But then again, whom are we to offer that advice? Often times we have not yet earned the right to speak into people’s lives but we try to anyways.

    • Jared Angaza on April 27, 2012 at 4:41 AM

      Jason, yes we must first earn the right to speak into someone’s life. But that is possible. It’s a process, just like anything else worth doing. It’s a give and take in terms of learning. Here is a little quote that I use (almost daily) for people that wish to offer aid in any developing country outside of their own.

      “Go to the people. Live among them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what you know. Build on what they have: But of the best leaders, when their task is done, the people will remark ‘we have done it ourselves’.” Chinese Poem

      And there’s no universal law or rule that indicates that people have to listen to advice. It’s a relationship, not a dictatorship. Sometimes good wisdom falls on deaf ears. That’s part of the process, and the process is often more about bringing you more wisdom than it is about the recipient implementing it. Either way, “Just keep giving”.

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