Being the start of the new year, I’ve been thinking about gifts; those that we give and those that we receive.
While living in Las Vegas, I befriended a neighbor. She was an older Russian woman, recently widowed, who had married a Psychiatrist. She was well-off but lonely. Having been a homemaker, she did not have children and had a very small circle of friends. Her only living relative was a sister in Russia. I encouraged her to get involve in the Arts, which she did. And, I invited her to dinner a few times a month. She was an excellent guest and always brought me a box of chocolates or flowers. She took note of my formal table setting (we ate in the dining room) and I wore a pretty apron with slacks, never jeans or a casual dress. She was delighted that I served a small appetizer and began the meal with a homemade soup and ended with a liqueur. One day when I couldn’t get her on the phone, I went to her house and was about to leave a note when she answered the door, puffy eyed. “My darling” she said, “Come in.” I sat there and listened to her, speaking as little as possible, because that was what she needed. After a while she asked me into her bedroom and showed me her enormous jewelry collection; both real and costume. My eyes danced. A costume cuff bracelet caught my eye. She offered it to me. Sensing that it might have come from her husband that she loved so much, I could not accept it.
Months later, on a spring day she had left her french doors open and was burglarized. She called me for moral support when the Police arrived. Later, when the fear died down, she said, “Your bracelet is gone. You see I wanted you to have it, it had to leave me anyway.”
I watched a sense of generosity filled with warmth that echoed a feeling of life, in the spirit of wanting to give. The virtue of generosity is spontaneous and joyful with a reward that is priceless. It enables the giver to know their best self and ultimately their power. And I realized my error. It enabled me to acknowledge how profound life is, to be uplifted in an instant. Lesson learned; allow others to give to you. Don’t block it. Their is grace in receiving.
By giving or receiving, we experience oneness and a wonderful connection with others.