Saturday, November 06, 2010

"What You've Never Had, You Never Miss"

An elderly couple from Canada gave away their $11.2 million lottery winnings to relatives and charities. Their justification: "What you've never had, you never miss."

Allen and Violet Large of Truro, Nova Scotia, have been married for 36 years. They are in their seventies and have everything they need in their retirement years. Violet was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and has been receiving chemotherapy at a hospital in Halifax.

Year ago when I lived in Halifax, I once drove through Truro. I still remember the sleepy town. The one thing that struck me about it was that not much happened there, and that's the way the few people I saw on the streets seemed to like it.

Allen & Violet distributed their money first to family and then to the local fire department, churches, cemeteries, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, hospitals in Truro and Halifax, organizations that fight cancer, Alzheimer's and diabetes.

You read something like this and you sit still to absorb it. Amid all the daily news of bloodbath and greed and ruthlessness, this couple did what perhaps only one in ten million would do. They could have taken exotic trips, bought all the toys they could indulge in, and spend their last years in pampered care and luxury. But no, they just gave it all away.

They unconsciously followed the wisdom in these lines: "I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show - let me not defer it nor neglect it - for I shall not pass this way again."

Good and kind people live among us, in big cities and small towns. Next time we hear of cruelty and selfishness, let's remember Violet and Allen Large and others like them and be grateful for the human grace that is as much a part of us as its opposite.

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