Earlier today, Christmas Eve, I had a small family potluck gathering at my home. We were in a festive spirit as we ate my homemade chili and salad, followed by various desserts contributed by everyone.
After the children had opened presents given them by aunt, uncles, nieces and nephews, I brought out a hugh box of older pictures taken over the years. Shortly thereafter, a big argument ensued by two relatives of furiously differing opinions as to who had taken a certain picture. One of the protagonists was particularly loud in proclaiming she had taken the picture. Almost on the verge of tears, she refused to back down.
Later, after everyone had left, I reflected on how this incident definitely was not in the spirit of giving, as this argument could quickly have been resolved if either party had refused to participate by simply letting go -giving in and giving up on a subject that wasn't that serious. After all, what was the point?
As I see it, letting go could be seen as a form of giving. Some other thoughts on giving relate to:
Forgiveness - This is probably the most difficult form of giving - more to oneself than the other person. When you forgive, you relieve yourself of the strain of carrying such a burden. For me, however, I have to say that while I am capable of forgiving, I don't necessarily want to be looking the other person in the face everyday. I know, I need to do more work in this area.
Attitude - Based on some discussions I've had, it seems some folks who are doing well materially could develop a healthier attitude toward the less fortunate. While there are many people who are working to eradicate poverty in America and abroad, we still have a long way to go in ditching the attitude that says, "I've got mine, you get yours." This is not only unacceptable, it's heartless.
Brotherly and Sisterly Love - Another form of giving is to accept people who are different from you. That person is not your enemy. Uniqueness keeps the world interesting. Exclusivity is boring and erects walls. We are not the sum of our possessions, class or skin color.
I wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Prosperous New Year! May we all continue to give to ourselves and to one another!