There but for the grace of …

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

From the Amherst (Nova Sco­tia) News Cit­i­zen-Record:

If you ever want a hum­bling mo­ment of “there but for the grace of God go I” — or any sim­i­lar sen­ti­ment — take a spin through your lo­cal Go­FundMe cam­paigns.

Go­FundMe is a busi­ness that runs cam­paigns for those in se­ri­ous need who want to crowd­source funds. The op­er­a­tion is fi­nanced by fees de­ducted from in­di­vid­ual do­na­tions.

It’s sim­ple enough to see what’s go­ing on around you: go to the web­site, and search your town or city. Usu­ally, the cam­paigns come at you through so­cial me­dia — a friend, or a friend of a friend for­wards you a link, and you de­cide whether you want to help fund the cam­paign.

But you can also see the peo­ple who need help and have few op­tions right in your neigh­bour­hood. And it’s a good les­son in just how lucky you are.

You, for ex­am­ple, might not be try­ing to raise money to help some­one cover thou­sands of dol­lars of flooding dam­age. You may not com­pletely en­joy your cur­rent lot in life, but you prob­a­bly don’t have a 13-year-old who has to travel back and forth from Syd­ney to Hal­i­fax for treat­ment for Hodgkin’s lym­phoma with all the as­so­ci­ated costs and wor­ries in­volved, or have to face the loss of your home and pos­ses­sions in a house fire.

You might have had an aw­ful week­end, but you’re not de­pend­ing on the kind­ness of oth­ers to help de­fray fu­neral costs for an­other fam­ily’s child or be try­ing to bring a fam­ily mem­ber’s re­mains home. A cam­paign for a new roof for the town rink. Fund­ing for a fam­ily of six who lost their home as a re­sult of a house fire.

The list is al­most end­less: there are peo­ple try­ing to raise funds for travel ex­penses to get a fam­ily to a new job in B.C., to buy spe­cial for­mula for an in­fant with al­ler­gies or to de­fray the costs of trans­plant surgery.

Some re­quests, of course, are less in­tense. Some verge into the triv­ial: re­quests for funds to buy grad­u­a­tion rings, a new phone or even do­na­tions for a pizza.

But the more se­ri­ous ones? Well, you can take a quick skim through those and see that, all around you, there are peo­ple who are prob­a­bly in more dif­fi­cult straits than you are. It might not be a les­son in hu­mil­ity, but it should be a les­son in gratitude — at least, un­less, like the Grinch, your heart is two sizes too small.

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