Saturday, 14 January 2012

All you have to give...

We live in a time at the moment, where gift giving is a big thing (I am an unashamed gift giver on all occasions and often for no occasion at all), however, the gift giving we share seems to be inextricably linked with things of a material or financial nature; in other words, actually purchasing something and spending large amounts of money in order to show people we care.

This makes me a little bit sad, because the most precious gifts we can give cost little or nothing in financial terms, and yet, the affects are far longer reaching.

The gift of listening, of time, of understanding, of unconditional love, of compassion and empathy, the gift of knowledge, acceptance, imagination, acts of service...all of these things have such a huge impact both on the person giving and receiving.

The beautiful and wonderful soul whom I trust the care of my three year old while I am working, is not used to receiving, she feels uncomfortable when a gift is given to her. She also really doesn't like cooking on a Friday afternoon. I, on the other hand, LOVE cooking and have a reasonable hand at making yummy meals. For Christmas then, I gave her home made vouchers for home cooked meals for her and her husband. Such a small thing to add another two people "into the pot" for dinner, in fact, we always have left overs and often are giving meals to people in the neighbourhood *smile* so I loose nothing and it costs nothing for me to do this. I knew that she would not "redeem" those vouchers since she doesn't like asking for anything from anyone, so I just cooked her a meal and took it with me when  I picked my little one up. Her face lit up in a huge smile, through her protests of "you don't have to" and "you shouldn't have done this" I could see the heartfelt thanks that I had done it and wouldn't take "no" for an answer in giving it to her.

A gift that effectively cost me nothing, meant the world to her, eased her burden for a night and gave her the sense that she was loved, that I listen when she speaks (hence I knew she doesn't like cooking on a Friday night) and that I have genuine care and affection for her and her well-being.

There are so many stories I could relate to you with the same message as the one above, but I know you understand this concept because I am sure you all have a story to tell about how your world was made sunny or how you helped someone else have a better moment through a similar act of giving.

I would really like to advocate bringing back the concept of "care" in our wider community (in fact I devote a lot of my time at school instilling this concept as well as content), a return if you like to the time when neighbours helped each other out, where we spoke to and listened to each other, where each person looked not only to themselves, but also to the wider community.

Look around you, in the community you live in as well as the global community. When you see an advertisement for red cross fund raising or world vision, oxfam, amnesty international or any of the other groups working towards better lives for others, instead of thinking, "I haven't got any money to give, I wish I could help," and then it being lost from your mind until the next ad; I ask you to give EVERYTHING you have to give and give it to those around you.

Stop to listen to the lonely elder who just wants someone to talk to and share a cup of tea, make a meal for someone who is having a rough time, leave a complimentary note on the desk of a colleague who is looking a little down, let it go when someone does something to annoy you, share your know-how on a topic you're passionate about, volunteer your time for a cause...

In doing this, in giving all you can give of those things that cost nothing financially, you are contributing a MASSIVE amount to the lives of those you come into contact with. The world benefits, and becomes a much more loving place.

Give all you have to give, then open your heart to recieving too.

With love and light

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