A Chance to Spontaneously Give

This past Thursday was a long day for me.  Tuesdays and Thursdays typically are long days due to the nature of my school schedule at Utah State University.  I am fortunate to have a job that allows me to work on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so that I can take Tuesdays and Thursdays to focus on my classes and studying. There are only four more weeks of class time before finals week, so there is a lot to learn, a lot to review, and a lot to get done.

My day on campus began at 7:00 that morning and it was then pushing 9:00 at night by the time an extra-curricular meeting ended and I was beginning to make my way home. As I was leaving the Huntsman Business Building, I heard something unusual.  My mind was so wrapped up in reflecting on what I had learned during the day and the things that I still needed to get done that night that I didn’t pay too much attention to what I was hearing at first.

I walked a little further before what I was hearing made me stop and focus more on the sound drifting through the darkness of campus.  I heard a beautiful melody being played on a guitar and a violin.  The music captivated me in a way that only music can, so I listened a little harder and realized the music was coming from the vicinity of the library and, instead of continuing on my intended route to my car, I walked more toward the sound of music so that I could hear it better.

I was happy to see that it was a couple of musicians playing live. I stood back in the darkness for a while just listening to them play before I approached them not really realizing what was about to happen.

I know that our society doesn’t put a strong enough emphasis on the importance of the performing arts, and performing artists are not always compensated the way they deserve to be.  Creating something that has the ability to stir the hearts and souls of humanity is priceless and what I was hearing and listening to made me completely forget everything I was focusing on so intently just a few minutes earlier.  The weight of all the stress I felt just those few minutes earlier was gone and I found myself with a smile on my face.

Subconsciously, I approached the two musicians, reaching toward my back pocket with a desire to show my appreciation for the beauty they were adding to campus.  I asked them if they were accepting contributions since street/sidewalk performers aren’t exactly a commonality in Logan, Utah.  They said, “Absolutely!” and I handed them the contents of my wallet.  It wasn’t a lot, but it was more than they expected and they expressed their appreciation.

We talked for a few moments about what we were doing on campus, and they seemed somewhat surprised that an accounting major had taken the time to stop and thank them for sharing their talents without expectation of any great reward.  I suppose the idea that those that are going into business are doing so only to enrich themselves is one that extends its reach even to a small valley in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

My encounter with these two individuals taught me a few things:

  • I walked out of the business building that night thinking about where I wanted to work and the possibilities such employment might offer to me, but I walked away from those two musicians reminded of the fact that the opportunities that will most likely be opened by my education will give me the chance to support something that offers an immense enrichment of humanity that is seriously undervalued.
  • Spontaneously contributing to a good cause and directly seeing the lives of those impacted by that contribution creates a greater measure of joy and satisfaction than giving to a general fund ever has for me.

I hope that anyone who reads this will be inspired to keep a little extra cash in their wallet for the specific purpose of giving it away because you never know when *you* might have a similar opportunity not only to enrich the life/lives of somebody you may have never met before but also to derive the self-fulfillment that comes from capitalizing on those opportunities.

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