What if I lived every single day with the focus on giving and not quitting? No matter what. Because of all I’ve been given, the concept of sharing with others – and not quitting – has been rolling around in my head and heart more and more, as the years pass. There seem to be little spotlights popping up on an event here and an experience there that has made a difference in my life. When I am the giver, there seems a contentedness and quiet joy simply from the blessing of being able to give and share.
I’ve been the recipient more often that the giver, though. It seems there are a couple of friends who just don’t quit giving. They just showed up. And made a difference. Their actions or words were like a soothing warm shower at a time when I was lonely. Their kindness covered me like a blanket. Like someone who knew how to love. Like an angel. When I begin comparing myself to these stellar givers, I come up short. I notice my lack of ability. I sometimes get in my own way of doing more good for others.
Go For It!
What if I dropped all my doubts and simply decided to GO FOR IT with gusto? By doing so, I could become full of goodness and make it matter more! So I remembered a beautiful moment in my life. In a nutshell, this is now it goes:
Many years ago, when it was just me and my oldest child, living meagerly at best, I had the registration come due for my car. I wept, having no idea how to pay the bill. How would I get to work? How would I be able to get the necessary things done? I’d sweated blood [well, not really of course, but it felt like it] for that car, and now I would have to give it up. My heart was really heavy. I had no one to turn to, and no idea of how to move forward.
The next day, when I checked the mailbox, there was an envelope from the government. From the IRS, no less. Opening it, I found a check made out in my name. Apparently there was an overpayment from me to the IRS. The remaining amount – in the included check- was being returned to me. It was just about exactly in the amount needed to pay the registration. A refund check from the IRS. In my hands. Without expectation. And enough to take care of my immediate crucial need.
What?! How did this happen? What was going on? Was this just a coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe it was because God is in His heaven, and He knew this was coming. It was a gift of love. A little miracle to keep me moving forward. Enough to soothe a troubled heart and boost a meager bank account. Think what you may, but I believed [and still do] that I was given a gift. It shifted my heart regarding the giving of myself, out of love.
Since that time, there’ve been events when I’ve given because I felt I “had” to, or it would be awkward if I didn’t. But there have been better times when I’ve given joyfully, wholeheartedly, just because. Without expecting anything in return, including recognition or credit. With a desire to see a smile, ease a burden, or lift another up, I have actually been the recipient of the greater gift. It feels really good to give to another person. It feels significant to be just one person – but one who wants to make the world a place of more goodness!
I came up with a personal slogan. It isn’t clever or amazing or endlessly thought provoking. It is, actually, quite simple. Here it is:
YOU HAVE NOT FAILED UNTIL YOU QUIT GIVING.
Sometimes it takes courage to give – in the most pure way of giving we know how. And without any expectation of anything other than growing in goodness. Giving of our means is awesome. Giving of our talents and abilities is wonderful. Giving of our time and of our heart can be expensive in that we may bare our own soul a bit more or have to shake off a weakness in order to do what is required of us. It can be the most meaningful, though! Here is the fertile soil where we bloom in giving without thought of self- aggrandizement or, on the other end of the spectrum, feeling like it’s never enough.
If it’s the best we can do, it’s enough. If we don’t quit giving, there seems to always be a wee bit of hope that blossoms, a thread of faith in ourselves and in goodness that keeps us upright. We don’t ever lose if we are trying to give away goodness!
I remember the story about the widow’s might, from the New Testament, when she gave what little she had. It was all she had. And she gave it away with faith and trust. She gave with courage.
What courage might I need to grow – ongoing – in order to be my best self? What better things can I give away? I’m past the whoop de doo of giving or receiving grand temporal gifts.
In the end, who cares about the stuff that costs money more than the stuff of what ties us together as human beings?
Like the old, funny [kind of] adage goes:
YA NEVER SEE A HEARSE PULLING A U HAUL
Never. We can’t take it with us. And, in some families, the stuff left behind causes hideous contention. Sigh. I don’t see the point. It still boils down to what matters at the end of our mortal lifetime.
With a little more faith and goodness, I could give more away. All the time. It is as simple as seeing the importance of little things. For instance:
- A smile to a random passerby. Or lots of passersby.
- A compliment to a stranger. This is actually one of my favorites. I love that smile that comes my way, and it feels like I may have made a difference in their day.
- A Thank You for someone for doing any little thing for me. Always, without ever forgetting or being too preoccupied.
- A prayer or thought [or both] for someone who may need it. Even if they don’t realize it or ask.
- A laugh. I love what laughter does for us physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Okay! Those are a short few things to get us on our way to giving and not quitting. Because that kind of goodness can’t be measured. And it is simple!
I have one of the kindest and most pure neighbors in the world. She consistently shows up at my door, in her kind precious manner, with something to let me know that she’s been thinking of me- rooting for me- caring about me. Thank you, friend. You are an example of understanding the more. I leave out a name because I could list several people whose hearts are giving, loving ones. Thank you!
So – Those times when I feel like a loser, or not apt enough to do a good job of giving, what should I do? How do I handle myself at the times when I feel like I’m not enough, or I blew it, or I can never make it up…? Those times when I feel like my gift was scant, and I could not figure out how to do more? I remember I should keep GIVING AND NOT QUIT. In whatever way I can at this moment, on this day. In what ever thought comes to mind, I can act on it enough to help another person. I can offer a hand up. I can give a hug, a handshake, a smile. I can matter to another soul.
I’m learning to get over myself and take a happier, simpler approach. I’ve not failed until I quit giving. That’s a good thing to hang onto. Because Goodness Matters.