The last couple days several people have been especially kind to me.  I am aware why they have done it, although in my mind, there was no real reason for it.  But then, I am also too aware that I, doubtlessly like many of you, am geared for the “giver mode,” instead of the “receiver mode.”  The real human truth is that we naturally were meant to function in both modes.  For whatever reasons, many of us have lived our lives being shaped for one rather than both.  This is not bad, but it is sad.  This kind of situation potentially is a place to be inspired for some spiritual growth.  The good news is that it requires at least one other person to help this growth.

The “givers” in life tend to be those folks who are active and alert to others.  They have to be active; otherwise, even if they saw an opportunity to give, they would not bother.   But not all active people are alert.  Selfish folks often are quite active! But the only thing they are alert to is whether they are getting theirs!  But even those of us who tend to be “givers” can feel much too smug when thinking of the selfish ones.

“Givers” can feel too smug if we fall into the trap of needing to be a giver in order to feel good, or gain attention, or even gain an advantage.  True giving should have none of these motivators.  Authentic giving is pure, no-strings attached action. It is up to the receiver to figure out how they want to receive it.

And this is precisely where “givers” have so much to learn.  Every time someone gives her or him a gift, simultaneously another opportunity is presented to learn how to receive, be grateful, and leave it at that!  But no!  Many of us are blessed with a gift.  We receive it, we are grateful, and then we cannot leave it at that.  We seemingly have to find a way to give back!  Inevitably, we keep turning the “period of the gift” into a “comma of another, circular step.”  What we need is to stop.  Get an attitude of gratitude and a comfort level with the gift…period.

Maybe the key is to learn Spanish!  In our American-English speaking culture, we say “thank you.”  Nothing wrong with that.  It comes from the German word, Danke.  But it does not take us to a deeper level, like Spanish does.  In that Romance language we say, Gracias!  Almost any one of us can see our word “grace,” in that word.  It is the response to someone gracing us.  Receive it; it is a gift.  Bask in it instead of beginning to see how to give back.

The only appropriate response to the gift you have been given is to be grateful.  You have been graced.  If it is a pure gift, you did not earn it and, maybe, did not even deserve it.  But it is yours!  Receive it, be grateful, and leave it at that. However, the lessons we so often need to learn are not easy lessons.  I suppose “takers” have a whole different set of lessons to learn.  And those of you who know how to do both giving and taking are the sages we need to be our teachers.

Most of us probably don’t live every day with one of these sages.  So we will need each other to keep giving, so we can practice our receiving.  And we need to keep receiving as the “takers” learn their new mode.  The good news is there are so many little ways through every day to practice both modes.  This enhances our lives and, I am sure, makes for a happier life.  Let’s keep practicing….           

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