Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Who says it's better to give than to receive?

Had a very interesting meeting last night with friends from church.  We looked at the subject of receiving.

My friend who led the group poured water from a glass jug into cups to illustrate how empty we can become as we give and do things for others.

Some visiting here and shopping there.   

A phone call to a friend in need.  

A listening ear.   

A meal to cook for someone or maybe just sharing a cuppa with a biscuit or two.

Sometimes we end up chasing our tail giving out, under the misguided perception that it is “better to give than to receive”.

Giving is easy.

It is so much harder to receive.

We act bashful when we get a present, “Oh you shouldn’t have!”  We exclaim while all the time inside feeling obligated to give something back.

We shrug off compliments.  “This old dress?   I’ve had it years.”  If we accept praise we worry that we sound conceited.

It bothers us what others think and we don’t want to be seen as the demanding friend who always takes. 

I’m sure you’ve realised by now from all my talk of “doing” that I’m basically a “giver”.  I have prided myself on what I have given in the past.  I am a volunteer-a-holic stepping in to “do” things for others.

I’ve enjoyed being the glass jug pouring out my time and effort lavishly on those who need it.

When Andrew died it was like the glass jug smashed and any reserves I had were gone.  I had NOTHING left to give.

Instead I had to RECEIVE and it is very humbling to have friends bringing you shopping, taking care of you, lifting your burdens and giving you the time and space you need to grieve.

I have had to learn to accept gifts graciously.  Take what is offered humbly.  Appreciate that this is my time to rest without any guilt attached.

Stopping doing so much has given me a chance to experience something new.

While I have still tried to give when I can I know it is in smaller and different ways from the past.   

I hope writing this is my way of giving at the moment.  It’s benefitting me and on some level I pray it is helping others.

However at the moment I am not ready to pour out my generosity because my glass jug is still shattered. 

It’s beginning to be pieced back together by family and friends and the glue that holds it in place is how I receive the love I have been given.

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