Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Generosity according to Stephen King


Stephen King is the author of 49 suspense and horror novels that have sold over 350 million copies. Some of his novels have been made into blockbuster movies like The Shining, Fire Starter, and Shawshank Redemption.

He’s a raging Boston Red Sox fan, so the Red Sox always appear somewhere in his novels.

Do you know he’s a guitar player in a mediocre rock ‘n roll band made up of other famous authors? 

Do you know that he’s a recovering alcoholic?

Do you know that he almost lost his life a few years ago? He was walking along a country road in Maine, and a van hit him and knocked him into a ditch. His legs were so crushed the doctors considered amputating them. But he managed to pull through. Did you know that he’s an outspoken advocate of generosity? This caught my attention, and I couldn’t believe it: Stephen King, the horror novelist, advocates generosity?

I came across it reading excerpts from a speech he gave to the graduates of Vassar College. It was a commencement address shortly after his accident and recovery. He said,
I found out what “you can’t take it with you” means. I found out while I was lying in the ditch at the side of a country road covered with mud and blood and with the tibia of my right leg poking out the side of my jeans, like a branch of a tree taken down in a thunderstorm. I had a Master Card in my wallet, but when you’re lying in a ditch with broken glass in your hair no one accepts Mastercard.
We all know that life is ephemeral, but on that particular day and in the months that followed, I got a painful but extremely valuable look at life’s simple backstage truths.
We come in naked and broke. We may be dressed up when we go out, but we’re just as broke. Warren Buffett is going to go out broke. Bill Gates is going out broke. Tom Hanks is going out broke. Steve King, broke, not a crying dime. All the money you earn, all the stocks you buy, all the mutual funds you trade, all of that is mostly smoke and mirrors. So I want you to consider making your life one long gift to others. And why not? All you have is on loan anyway. All that lasts is what you pass on. We have the power to help, the power to change. And why should we refuse? Because we’re going to take it with us? Oh, please.
Right now we have the power to do great good for others. So I ask you to begin giving and to continue as you began. I think you’ll find in the end that you got far more than you ever had and did more good than you ever dreamed.