Following my article on How to Give, my thoughts wandered to the other side of the equation. Namely, that some of us have difficulty in receiving gifts. In our day, even a simple gift gives rise to suspicion in the mind of the receiver … Continue reading
In the spirit of this approaching Christmas season (Hanukkah was over the evening of December 5th) it might be a good time to be reminded of some of the principles of giving. Keep in mind that giving should be meaningful, both for the giver and the receiver. Never give out of rote: give because it is right and good. Ergo—
How to Give—a Seven Point Primer
- Give because it is right. No matter what your definition of right is, giving cannot be construed as anything else. It is not a bribe, a peace offering, or a one-upmanship on the receiver. It must simply be simply right, nothing else.
- Give within your means—with some wee bit of sacrifice. It may never be noticed by the other person. That does not matter. It will secretly mean much much more to you.
- Give in terms of the other person’s wants and needs, NOT in terms of what you would like to give them. When my wife and I were first married I would always give her clothing; she could have cared less. Didn’t even take the blouse or scarf out of the box. Then I noticed she loved to read: so I gave her books. Guess what? She hugged & kissed me and vanished for three days reading the new book. I learned to give in terms of what she wanted.
- Plan for giving. Always try to squirrel away cash-in-a-stash for later giving. It’s freeing! Giving up 2 cups of coffee a week could free up $20 a month. Get the picture?
- Get into the practice of giving. Christmas won’t be such a big thing if you already give to others regularly.
- Give graciously. Not lavishly, unless if seems appropriate to you. There is little in this life that expresses genuine love like sacrificial graciousness.
- Accept ALL gifts with thankfulness and humility. The one giving them has sacrificed for you. Especially be thankful for hand-made gifts, no matter the quality. They are the most precious of all.
Above all, be thankful that you have the means to give anything at all. Not all people on this planet have the resources to give very much. So, if you are one who does, please do not hold back. And always remember the poor in your giving. God does. Please.
People who get in your face don’t give you much room. You are certainly not allowed to interrupt. Horrors! In no uncertain terms, any thought of actually contradicting them is totally out of the question. Even a simple interjection is too much for them to handle.
So, they talk. And talk. And talk. If you dare interrupt, they simply talk louder, and/or faster. Why? They have to stay in control; they have to take the dominant position and hang on to it tenaciously. You do not matter; you have nothing to say which interests them. They have all the information they need; they are right; and when they want your opinion they will tell you what it is.
You’re being “preached-at,” scolded, berated, and cornered. I see this most in husband/wife relationships, and between insecure bosses and their employees.
Throughout life there will be those who cross our paths who must dominate, control, assume authority, and come at us, for no more apparent reason other than they believe they are smarter and more right, than we are. In fact, they never truly discover who we are: they just don’t care about it.
How do we handle such people? Unless we really have to go to the bathroom, we truly just stand there as they browbeat us. My best advice? Humility. Let them unload whatever it is on their mind. We recently had a repairman in our home that was passionate about his Christian faith. He may have been excited, but we were left no room to respond. It was a one way conversation.
I hate being preached at. Whether it is some Christian trying to convert me to his point of view, a philosopher-type endeavoring to drive home a universal point of “Meaning,” or a Telemarketing call, I hate it! I am a person with a studied mind, a passionate heart, and a few opinions of my own. What would give me the right to pound my point of view into someone else with no consideration for their thoughts?
Might I suggest that conversations, healthy ones, at least, need to remain give-‘n-take, maintaining dialog more than monolog. Might I suggest graciousness in listening to someone else’s point of view, tempered with wisdom?
Could it be possible that people who are so assertive must preserve that stance because, deep within, they are not really that certain? Give them some room, and some time: everyone deserves a chance to learn, to amend their ways. Still, no one has a right to be in your face…, even me.
Some days you just don’t feel like getting out of bed. We’ve all been there. The pressures of life weigh in on us so heavily that we lose the strength to face another day. This is especially true around the holidays— gifts to be bought and wrapped, meals to be prepared for the imminent arrival of guests & family. Added demands upon our already frantic lives.
Some of us, yea verily even extroverts, oft seek sanctuary in our closet, whether figuratively or literally. We retreat to a place of momentary safety, a hiding place, where no one can find us. We seek silence, solitude, serenity— commodities sorely lacking in our present pace of life. [Buddhism has a lot to teach us on this subject.] Large companies are scheduling team-building retreats for their managers and department heads; Christians have been going on spiritual retreats for years; Muslims fulfill one of their Five Pillars by making at least one journey to Mecca during their life-time.
There are at least two kinds of closets. The first kind is within us, holding things private, things which are best kept to ourselves. The other one holds us. It is a place for us to gain perspective and strength, to find solace for our soul. It may be a literal closet, or a place of safety—a friend’s home, a favorite bar, a winter hike through snow, a time of reflection, a rich conversation with a confidant over a wee dram of Glenmorangie. [Note: a roaring fire often aids in melting our resistance to search within.]
So as our lives continue to accelerate, make sure you go into your closet often, to your place of escape, to remind yourself who you really are. To be properly equipped to grapple with the daily barrage of activity and information that assaults us, we all need those times of retreat, wherein our focus must be on refurbishing our spirit, building our character, and finding rest for our soul. And may God bless and honor those who have created a closet for me. I’m ready to go in…, how about you?
Closing the door now,