“Giving Back” or “giving back what?”

I think the seventh most important thing in life is “giving back”.  Now the “giving back” comment is one you hear so often it really sounds overworn and overdone.  Sounds like an advertisement for the United Way or some volunteer bureau.  I have actually heard people ask “giving back what?”  of “giving back to whom?”  So, I realize the saying might not adequately reflect what I am trying to convey.

I’ll just say there is joy in giving.  No matter how grateful you feel for the blessings you received, or how ungrateful you feel for the troubles you’ve had, there is still joy in giving.  Something about giving makes you feel richer, kinder, more powerful and more significant.  You couldn’t give if you were too poor, too weak, to mean or too invisible.  But no one is any of those things.  Everyone has something to give, and because we do, we are necessarily blessed. 

Have you ever noticed that when you act kindly, you feel good?  When you act generously, you feel powerful and rich?  When you act with compassion, you feel loving?  Whatever you act, the emotions follow.  There’s a whole biological theory built around this, but I’m no scientist.  I just know what I see and experience.

Have you ever felt so poor you felt you had nothing to give?  How about giving a smile?  Unless you’ve just had your face frozen at the dentist, you can smile.  Come on now, you don’t feel like it?  Smile anyway.  Nine times out of ten, the smile will be returned.  You have not only added a bit of sunshine to someone’s day, but now they have added some to yours.  Maybe someone needs a hand–a door held open, something dropped that they can’t pick up, being “let in” to a long line of traffic.  You might not see the smile or wave of the hand, but you made someone’s moment a little easier.  Doesn’t that make you feel powerful?

What about the gift of time?  I have heard it said that people would rather give their money than their time, because time seems in such short supply in this busy world.  But what would you rather do, watch television, surf the internet, or give an hour to someone who could really use the helping hand or the company.  We all have time, its just a matter of choice how we spend it.

We can give time to organized activity, and some of that can be really fun and uplifting.  I believe, that just as we should work within the circle of our “calling”, we should also volunteer where it makes us happy to do so.  When we get to the point where our volunteering stresses us or wears us out, we should do something else.  After all, we’re doing this for love, not pay, and therefore we ought to love what we are doing.  The more we love what we are doing and have fun doing it, the more we refill our “giving pot” so we can give some more.

Nonni

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