Yesterday was Give STL Day, a day set aside to contribute to the local charities that are doing so much to care for our community, the environment, and the animals we are stewards to. The St. Louis Community Foundation, which spearheaded the local effort, raised $2.1 million for 823 organizations in a 24-hour period.

I love that so many people and businesses embraced this event, and even more, I love that so many people are passionate enough about important causes here in St. Louis that they invest their time, money, and skills to make a difference. These organizations are the hearts and the hands of our society, and as much as they run on love and goodness, they also need financial contributions to keep doing the work they do. That’s why this day was so important.

But it doesn’t end there.

Just because Give STL Day is over doesn’t mean we can pat ourselves on the back and move on. As cliché as it sounds, giving back is something we should all do, not just on Give STL Day but every day of the year. Whether we give of our time, our money, or our skills, giving is not an obligation so much as it is an opportunity to connect with others and to make the world a better place.

It’s as simple — and as difficult — as shifting the way we look at the world from the minute we wake up until we close our eyes at night.

It really boils down to one question:
Is life happening to me, or is life happening for me?

STL Gives Day. Give STL Day. Just give. That single change in perception takes us from a place of suffering to a place of gratitude.

That guy who cuts us off in traffic is teaching us about patience. That impossible work schedule is a lesson in prioritizing the things (and people) that matter most. Even those difficult emotional experiences that rip us apart inside are teaching us empathy and kindness for those who still need healing.

My ability to give isn’t something that I can carry in a bucket, or that runs out when I use it all up. It’s more like a muscle, and the more I use it, the stronger it gets. That muscle is fueled by gratitude.

Gratitude begets gratitude, and kindness begets kindness.

As I get older, I find myself profoundly thankful for the struggles, the lessons, and the people who have lifted me up along the way. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than to return that goodness to the universe by giving others a hand up, or to use my knowledge, skills, and experience to help someone else.

Many of us gave for Give STL Day, but our job isn’t over. Today, I am grateful for a new opportunity to be a light in the world. Just think: if we all learn to walk in gratitude and glow just a little bit brighter, what a wonderful world this will be!


Brinton Vision St. Louis LASIK Dr. Jason BrintonSt. Louis LASIK surgeon Dr. Jason P. Brinton, MD is an internationally recognized specialist in the field of refractive surgery, and he loves an eye healthy diet. He is a graduate of Harvard College, earned his medical doctorate from the Harvard Medical School, and is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He has been inducted to America’s Top Ophthalmologists by the Consumer Research Council of America, Leading Physicians of the World by the International Association of Healthcare Professionals, and Top Doctors in America by Castle Connolly. In 2015, he received global recognition as the recipient of the Visian ICL Young Ophthalmologist Award in Barcelona, Spain, and in 2016 was named Ocular Surgery News’ Premier Surgeon 300 Innovators in Refractive Cataract Surgery. He is a dedicated husband, father of four beautiful children, and is passionate about his life, his work, and service to others.

Dr. Jason P. Brinton is an internationally recognized specialist in the field of LASIK and refractive surgery. He is a graduate of Harvard College, earned his medical doctorate from the Harvard Medical School and is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology.