this last couple of weeks, I am drawn back to the theme of giving.
In my last blog post I wrote about doing a favor for a friend, and how in doing so I found a publisher for some children’s verse that I wasn’t even really looking to sell right then. I titled the blog post No good deed goes unpunished. It was a sort of sarcastic comment but I wasn’t feeling particularly generous toward the world at that moment. And yet the world, with a sort of blasé indifference to my mood, chose to do something nice for me.
This morning’s reading brought me this quote from Robin Wall Kimmerer, “a gift comes to you through no action of your own, free, having moved toward you without your beckoning. It is not a reward; you cannot earn it, or call it to you, or even deserve it.” Later she quotes Lewis Hyde, “it is the cardinal difference between gift and commodity exchange than a gift establishes a feeling-bond between two people.”
Although Kimmerer and Hyde were speaking about gifts from the earth, it’s being made clear to me through no fault of my own, that these statements actually work for all gifts.
I have somehow become involved with a group of givers. It’s a secret Facebook group that if I tell you about in detail I will have to kill you. Actually, they would probably kill me. So I won’t go into detail, except to say that this is a truly amazing group of people.
They’ve decided to go beyond gift giving at Christmas and help each other out whenever someone has a need. Some in this group have more disposable income than others and they have figured out ways to help those who are struggling at the moment with gifts of both necessary and “unnecessary” items. Some are bought, some are swapped.
And what has grown out of this group is the amazing gift of friendship across state lines, continents, oceans. Across social, occupational, class, and age divides. Those who can, give. Those who can’t, often can pay it forward in the smallest of ways, like giving someone struggling with a load of groceries a ride to their house.
A gift that might not have been given had the driver not been given to.
Sometimes the gift is just that of listening. Listening to someone who is having a tough day vent. Letting someone blow off steam without feeling their problems are not as important or as great as the people listening. Cheering someone on when they do something that their immediate family or social group might not see as a great accomplishment.
And possibly the most important thing of all we are learning. Definitely one of the hardest lessons for me to take in, and to remember. People are giving the gift of accepting help when needed.
When you accept help you allow someone the gift of giving. And that may be the best thing that you do all day.
I’m a giver. Most givers find it very hard to take. As a result a lot of people find me hard to take. Especially at holidays, birthdays, and when I’m struggling, and they know I’m struggling, but I insist that I can handle it. Whatever it is. I’m learning that sometimes the way to make someone’s day is to let them help.
What a concept.
Okay, so that’s several solemn and serious blog posts in a row. Where, you may be asking, are the funny and clever blog posts with all the carefully chosen clipart?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I’m setting up a series of podcasts. I’ll let you know as soon as they’re ready to go. I’m putting most of my funny, 87% of my sarcastic, and 93% of my puns into the podcasts.
Oh, and all the clipart.