May 4, 2010

Give without Remembering

Give without Remembering. I saw this sign on the way home last night just as I was thinking about this very topic. Lately, I've had several opportunities to give something of myself  - time, encouragement or more tangible support - to another person when I knew it would not result in any kind of reciprocity.

Now, in my experience, this can be a tricky situation to navigate. Generally speaking, it's good to give freely with no expectations. The major religions of the world teach that giving without expecting anything in return is a spiritual discipline. In the New Testament, Luke 6:35 "love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back." Matthew 6:3 says, "but when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing." Now that's hardcore.

But sometimes, it's easy to slip into the role of the person who is always there for everyone else but who doesn't take care of herself - especially as a parent. Many times, I have fallen into this latter category to the degree that I didn't have any energy left to spend on taking care of myself, spiritually, physically or emotionally. Of course, after a while I learned that leaving so little for me meant I didn't have anything left to give anyone else.

Just to clarify, I'm not putting myself up as some kind of saint who just worked herself to the bone for the rest of the world. But I am saying that learning when to give and learning when to step back and let someone else have a turn may also be a form of spiritual wisdom. So, right now, I'm learning about how to balance this practice in my own life. I think that's why I've had opportunities lately to choose when I can give and when I have to step back and be sure I'm refilling my own spiritual, physical and emotional energy tank.

Anyone else struggle with this?

1 comment:

  1. OMG I totally saw the same sign (I was driving down 15th ave too HA!) and I was thinking the same thing! I have been thinking over about it for the last few days too! I need to learn to give without remembering!! It is hard to do sometimes because you tend to compare your "doing" to other people (at least I do).
    Thanks for posting this girl!


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