Across America, men and women are making a difference in the lives of total strangers as part of volunteer activities or paid employment. They work quietly behind the scenes one individual or family at a time.
The work's done for low pay (for those employed to do good works) or through the sacrifice of personal time and resources for volunteers.
Several years ago I received a call from a Catholic nun in rural southwestern West Virginia who needed my help with a family she was supporting. I spent a day with the Sister and the family; I was impressed by her selflessness, and the way she made the family's needs the most important aspect of our get-together that day. She didn't seem to need recognition, praise or gratitude. She simply wanted the quality of life for the family we were visiting to improve.
Of course, the Sister's name wasn't Oprah.
Oprah's Big Give premiers tonight on ABC. By one account (a review in USA Today), the show "is a throwback to a time when the poor were expected to be grateful for whatever they were given.
It so often ignores the needs of those getting the give that the reviewer adds: "Seldom has the drive to do good works been as alarmingly, offensively presumptuous."
Gee, that review sounds familiar.