“It’s better to give than to receive.”

Do you remember your parents telling you that as a kid? I never believed it then. When I was a kid, all I wanted was to get presents, and I really didn’t care so much about the giving of the gifts.

As an adult, that has done a complete 180. I honestly do love to give more than I love to receive. I love the thought I put into exactly what to give someone, how to package it up, how to give it to them, what would make the perfect gift for them and where they are in their life right now. It gives me an amazing amount of joy to be able to give, and the giving becomes a kind of gift to me.

But there are times when we need to be on the receiving end too. There are times when we need to open ourselves up and receive what is offered. Offered by friends, by family, by strangers, and by the universe. We need to learn to receive graciously.

As kids, all we want is to get, and as adults, many of us don’t remember how to receive.

But life is a cycle. Sometimes we give, and sometimes we get. Sometimes we are in a position to help others, and sometimes we are in need of help. Life takes us on a journey of ups and downs, sometimes to the extreme, and we need to learn to ride that wave with grace and gratitude. And never forget that we can be on the other side of that wave in a heartbeat.

I have at various times in my life…

  • given clothing to women’s shelters / Big Brothers / the Diabetes Assoc. / Salvation Army / etc.
  • bought clothing at the Salvation Army or Value Village out of financial necessity
  • received clothing from women’s associations or the food bank
  • given money to or raised money for the food bank
  • received food from the food bank to feed my family
  • donated food, money, or toys for Christmas hampers
  • received food, toy, and gift hampers
  • bought a meal for someone on the street who couldn’t afford it
  • had a friend take me out for a meal or buy me groceries when I couldn’t afford it

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I could go on…but you get the idea. We all have extreme ups and downs. Different, but the same. That’s life.

Generosity starts with the spirit. It starts with time and love. If and when you have the means, it extends to a financial way of giving.

And receiving starts with trust. Trust that the universe will provide for you in your time of need. Trust that you will be taken care of, the same way you would take care of others if it were within your means to do so. And trust that you can accept those provisions, the same way you would want someone else to accept provisions you offered to them. Trust that people really do love to give.

We are one. We are all connected. None of us is entirely separate. We take care of each other out of love and the joy of giving.

When you are down, trust and receive. When you are up, love and give. That’s all there is to it.

Never forget your place in the cycle. Live it with grace, humility, and gratitude.

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