Photo Courtesy of Kira auf der Heide
“A true gift is given not for what it might expect in return”
This time of the year heralds plenty of warm reminders that giving is virtually an integral part of the human experience. No matter what holidays you do or don’t celebrate, the best part of the year’s end message is that giving a gift is much more satisfying than receiving one. But when all is said and done, how many truly do live their lives congruent to this mantra?
Consider for a moment on past years around this time and recall what stands out the most. Was it a particular gift or gifts you received which were most memorable or was it the smile you put on someone’s face by your generosity?
It doesn’t always involve a tremendous effort but it does require a genuine and sincere heart. These kinds of presents have the power to do more than we can know.
Undoubtedly many of us would gladly hand-deliver gifts that could change the world or even a single life. However, there is no way of predetermining what that outcome will be. Nevertheless, that ought not keep us from being sincere givers. Not knowing what consequence our gift may bring should never stop anyone from an overabundance of generosity.
A friend told me a story which happened years ago while he was in New York City. A young boy limped up to him and timidly asked for some money. He handed the child a few dollars and moments later, the boy was laughing and making fun of my friend’s compassion. This type of act certainly could be grounds for second guessing any and every opportunity for charity. However, why should we allow the ignorance of others to shackle our generosity?
It is customary after dining at a restaurant to leave the wait staff a tip. Regardless of how much is left, we don’t make demands on how they are to spend it. There are no warnings which demand the money not be used on superfluous items or addictive substances. It’s a gift which they choose to spend any way their heart desires.
On the other hand, have you ever left a larger tip than usual just to make someone’s day? Perhaps the person may be showing signs of stress and the service may have been subpar. Was there ever a consideration of showing your kindness simply to brighten that person’s day?
There is rarely ever a way to know if a gift will impact someone in a completely transformative way but one thing is certain. If nothing is given, there will never be an opportunity for a life-changing event.
“The Right Gift” is one which is given from the heart. No matter what the cost, significance, or purpose, the act of giving itself determines the kind of person we are. Feel free to write in the comments about stories where you either gave or were given something and it made a world of difference. I look forward to reading them.