Monday, November 7, 2016

In the Service of Others



“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” ~ Albert Einstein

Playing in a band, for me, is something that I enjoy.  I am doing something with friends, creating something we have a passion for and having the opportunity to focus on that one activity.  Most of the time, when we jam, we check our ego, life issues and concerns at the front door so that we can enjoy the moments of making music.  Do we play out, not often.  However, we play one gig a year that we look forward to and, in my mind, it elevates what we do, as we are doing it not necessarily for ourselves, but for others.

A friend of ours, Dr. Bruce, has been involved with J-ADD, the Jewish Association for Developmental Disabilities, and helps with their annual walk-a-thon.  A number of years ago, Dr. Bruce, who occasionally sits in on the saxophone with me and the boys, asked if we could provide music for the event.  Each year, we pull something together, whether it is a duo, a trio or a larger ensemble, to provide the music.  Every time we play, it is a great feeling-seeing people come up, people smiling, and people dancing in front of the band.  I walk away each year feeling good about being able, in a small way, to help with this event.  To have the opportunity to give back, especially in a way I enjoy, makes the event, makes the music and makes the day wonderful.

We have friends that are involved in different charitable events.  Some people do 39.3-mile walks for the charity they support.  Some people walk through the night for their charity.  Some people actively ask for money for their charities.  Some people are involved in food drives to feed the needy.  I have one friend that believes that giving charitably will change the world.  We work hard to better ourselves, provide for our families and plan for our future time of leisure.  It is important that we always help those less fortunate and the organizations that provide help or research to conquer disease.  We happily support our friends and the charitable organizations they support.  To paraphrase one of Maimonides’ eight levels of charity, it is important to give “…without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received.”  What charities do you support?