Give, sweet mama, give. Give, my man, give.

Give beauty

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. –Pablo Picasso

Only by giving are you able to receive more than you already have. –Jim Rohn

We only have what we give. –Isabel Allende

For it is in giving that we receive. –St. Francis of Assisi

The wise ones gently nudge us toward this truth, don’t they? Give, sweet mama, give. Give, my man, give.

Open your closed fist, your worried fist, your fearful fist–and offer some your firstborn wages, your pennies and cents, your precious time, your heartfelt words, your hugs (when we can!), your smiles, your eye-crinkles, your phone calls, your compassion, your steadfast care.

Oh that stranger at the grocery store–can you give precious attention? Or will you stay lost in thought, trying to resolve the mind’s latest crisis or worry-scenario or preoccupation? Can you offer the stories of your heart, or will fear of judgment keep you caged in silence?

How can we break free of inner chains locking us in shut-off corners, where giving dries on the vine without bursting in sweet fruit?

Give fruit.

I’ve lost opportunities to give–once, twice, a thousand times. Perhaps apathy won the day. Sometimes fear locked the door. The inner children want for themselves: give me, give me, give me, the inner babes and toddlers cry. Without realizing that giving itself is the fair gold prize as it returns hundred fold to the empty-handed giver.

We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest. –Orison Swett Harden

We’re rich and sated from our Thanksgiving feasts. We’ve expressed gratitude over and over in the last week, looking around our pandemic joyful broken world for the many gifts that fill our harvest basket. Thank you, thank you, thank you, we say.

The other part of the word Thanksgiving: giving. It’s a reciprocal relationship, thanks and giving. They dance together. One bows, the other curtsies. One acknowledges, the other spreads the acknowledgement like fairy dust or Christmas song or shards of wave-tossed beach glass.

It doesn’t matter what we give. It’s that we give. It’s that we find ways to open our hearts and fists and brokenness. In my childhood church we receive communion, then we pass the peace. Peace be with you, and you, and you.

Give peace.

Quite often an unresolved ego-part of ourselves will leap in and try to claim the giving for itself. It wants reciprocity for itself. Kudos, likes, appreciation, comments, attention, gratitude, response. It concentrates on the “getting” part. It hasn’t yet learned how to give without strings. It still doesn’t know the heart’s path of giving from love–just because. That’s how the heart gives. Just because. (Let us not judge the baby ego part, but instead give it tender mercy and care. It’s still young–it’s learning to crawl toward the Holy Heart, not winning spiritual love marathons.)

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. If we have a few extra shekels, where shall we give them? If we have no leftovers, how can we bestow our time, our words, our smiles?

We’ve already given some money to our local Shelter Home, but I am considering giving to Feeding America or another organization that provides food to nourish those who are financially suffering this winter.

Where to you like to give your time, your energy, your spirit, your money? Do you have favorite organizations or local groups? Do you tithe? Do you have any giving advice or quotes about giving that fill your spirit?

Day 44 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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22 Responses to Give, sweet mama, give. Give, my man, give.

  1. Because of my concern for climate change and the earth I make monthly donations to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Tim volunteers his time to the Red Cross. He was so happy when they gave him work he could do from home during the pandemic, organizing food deliveries from suppliers to the various distribution sites.

    “It takes time to practice generosity, but being generous is the best use of our time.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, that is a great quote from Thich Nhat Hanh–thanks for sharing. I don’t know much about the Natural Resources Defense Council, will have to look them up. How cool that Tim can volunteer even during this pandemic.

  2. Susan D. Durham says:

    How beautiful, Kathy; a wonderful way to start a new week in this season. Thank you for all that you give, in so many different ways! You are a giving, generous soul indeed.

    Every year, no matter my own situation, I secretly pick a person or a family going through a rough time, or maybe simply feeling forgotten and lonely, and I gift them with a surprise during Christmas season. Sometimes it’s not much; sometimes it’s a little more, but as you note, it’s the act of giving that has meaning. The joy this act brings me is precious.

    Now and then I learn of someone in need, or even see something on Facebook about a need, and will pitch in what I can. I have been given so much, so many times, how can I not give, too? It’s truly Holy.

    Thank you again for this offering today. So much love …

    • Kathy says:

      Susan, I got prickly tears thinking about you secretly picking a person or family and giving them Christmas love. Oh how wonderful! You run across so many people over there, and you know who needs a little extra. Isn’t it wonderful that our giving keeps on giving, albeit from different directions? We give from the east or west and then generosity blows back in from the south. Thank you for your kind giving over and over and over and over again. xoxo

  3. dawnkinster says:

    I feel that my husband and I have been so lucky, that we have more than enough, that it’s our obligation to give to groups that touch our heart. Little Brothers is one of my favorites, and when I read their reports I wish I still lived up there. And of course my turck safety cause. But sometimes there is more, an individual who has voiced desperation, a dog lover somewhere without food for their furbaby, a senior who has no visitors and could use a card. Those little things are just as important as our big causes. Giving Tuesday is an extraordinary day for all of us to say thank you to the organizaitons that support the kind of world we all want to live in. Let’s give freely tomorrow, and keep our eyes open all year long for the hidden ways we can all enhance someone’s life.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, Little Brothers did such an amazing job in our community this year for Thanksgiving–once again! Barry went over to Baraga and covered their dinner last Thursday. I just read your post about your dad and your truck safety cause and continue to applaud you for the work you’ve done in this area. Giving Tuesday is an extraordinary opportunity for us to share of our hearts and money and time. I just talked to my mom about it and she said she had not heard of it. So it’s good to keeping spreading the word!

  4. Stacy says:

    It is said that charity begins at home. So, for various reasons, over the course of my adult life, that’s primarily where my giving was. But over the past few years, and especially this year, I’ve looked outward more. Animals are always at the top of my giving. They are innocent bystanders in the quagmire created by humans.

    But really, what I want to talk about is a coffee shop near me. I have been wanting to write about them for a year now. They support an outreach, and do things far and wide to alleviate suffering and spread joy. They are the type of people that I aspire to be. As soon as I can squeeze in an interview, I will share their story. XOXO

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, I am smiling to think of the animals you’ve helped recently. My next door neighbor up here is head-over-heels in love with animals (he’s adopted more than a dozen of shelter home dogs over the years) and he continually gives in this area. They are indeed innocent bystanders.

      As for your coffee shop–will look forward to reading what you write. I love when we can find people we aspire to be. It will be a gift indeed if you share their story!

  5. Sarah Davis says:

    I have been thinking about abundance, giving and how the ego defines abundance. It is interesting to step back and observe its claims. Enjoyed your post.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Sarah! It’s so interesting to think about abundance. I know I learn more about it as I grow in awareness. It meant something different ten years ago than it does now. Thank you so much for gifting me with your thoughts & kindness here.

  6. As I read your thoughts, one word kept coming to the forefront of my mind. You didn’t use it, but it stuck in my mind … the word???? … Selfish … It simply gets in our way far too often to inhibit us from doing what we should do. As always, thanks for your thoughts.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you, Frank. Whatever gets in our way of freely giving–perhaps this Advent season we’ll rethink and feel our way into opening our hearts even more.

  7. Robin says:

    So much here, in your post and in the comments. I’ve been thinking a lot about the long quote I started my post with yesterday, about how place (land) gives to us so freely (here is part of it: “…When my benefactor is a place rather than a person, however, my role as recipient is less direct. I’m someone who has inadvertently stepped beneath a stream of beneficence not specifically intended for me but suddenly pouring all over me. If I wished to offer thanks, how would I do so? Does a place have consciousness, such that it can receive gratitude for what it has given just by being itself?”). The quote came from an article about healing and giving back to land that has been harmed by humans. The author does it with art, but I am imagining there are all sorts of ways to say thank you.

    And there are all sorts of ways to give, as you mention in your post. We unintentionally (but maybe it is unconsciously intentional?) adopt a family wherever we live. It used to be a graduate student (since my husband is in academia) and her/his spouse and children. We didn’t really adopt them, of course, but would have them over for meals (and send them home with lots of leftovers) or take them to concerts or out for dinner or babysit or whatever seemed appropriate and needed. Where we live now, we’ve been looking out for one of the women who works as a janitor at the university. She’s a single mom with four children. Every year we give her a big turkey and all the trimmings (potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc.) for Thanksgiving dinner. Throughout the year we help with whatever she seems to need (M rounded up some equipment they needed when the schools closed during this pandemic and the kids were learning remotely… that sort of thing). I wish I had tons of money so that I could adopt a lot of families and do things to help make their lives easier.

    I’m going to give to our local food bank today. So many are going hungry now. Over 26 million, according to the latest story I read. One in eight in the U.S. was the last statistic I read.

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, this is so beautiful–that you adopt a family or person to help. Wow! I love this idea. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we did have tons of $$$$ and could really make a difference with many families? This is such an inspiring thought. P.S. I gave to our local food bank today, too. So sad at the latest hunger numbers. 😦

  8. Tilly travel says:

    I give to animal charities, poor little animals often get forgotten, and now with people losing their jobs there will be more and more of them thrown out. We have noticed a rise in stray cats around here. (Yes we feed them but that’s not really the answer they need a home).

    Bright blessings

  9. Reggie says:

    I loved reading this post, Kathy, and all the wonderful comments from your generous readers. I have never heard of ‘Giving Tuesday’ before, but what a marvelous idea that is! In our country, there is so much poverty, so much need, so much desperation, that it can become overwhelming. It sometimes feels like, no matter how little or how much or how often we give, it fizzes away like a drop of water on a hot stone in the heat of summer. People need work, they need a home, they need food, they need to feel appreciated, to be empowered, to have the dignity that comes with having a job that pays a living wage. Instead of even trying to meet those needs, our politicians squabble and fight and steal and blame the past and point fingers and refuse to accept responsibility for how much they squandered and stole from every single goodhearted, hardworking, trusting citizen in the country.

    During our long and harsh Lockdown, our economy tanked. I don’t even know how many billions of Rands the fiscus has lost, or how many millions of people were suddenly left without work, and how many thousands of businesses shut down and will never open again, because their reserves are depleted. The figures are staggering. Throughout the Lockdown, both hubby and I have really been focusing on supporting our local shops and businesses; after all, if we don’t keep them going, then they may go bankrupt, and where will that leave all their staff members and their families?

    And then I heard from my best friend that her business – a bakery that she had built up over many years – had come to a standstill; the airlines, restaurants, the entertainment industry, the farmers’ markets, all of which she had been supplying with cakes and desserts and baked goods, shut down from one day to the next. She came up with the idea of creating The Little Cake Box, which contained two slices of cake and two tarts, and/or some cookies, chocolates, or other baked treats. Each week, the selection would change. Between Monday and Wednesday, you could order it through her website, either for yourself or for a friend, add a little personalised note, and on Fridays, she would drive all over Cape Town, delivering her Little Cake Boxes. I promptly started reaching out to all my friends and acquaintances, offering to treat them to one of her Little Cake Boxes, and so, every week for the last months, several people received their Box of Treats. The responses were so heartwarming, especially from those who were alone at home, feeling completely isolated, and those who, due to their age or health conditions, were unable to go out. Many ‘paid it forward’ by ordering for their own family and friends, so it created a lovely ripple effect that is still ongoing. It got my friend through some very, very difficult months, and for me, it felt absolutely wonderful – I felt like a Christmas elf! It was the most magical, exciting, uplifting feeling ever! 😀

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, I am glad you heard about our Giving Tuesday tradition here in our country. I know what you mean about how poverty and problems can be so overwhelming that it’s hard to know when and where and how to give. It sounds like it’s really rough in South Africa. I think it’s a wonderful thing that you did to support your friend. What an amazing encouraging inspiring story! I only wish I could buy some from her, too. She probably doesn’t send them overseas with the cost of postage being so high.

      • Reggie says:

        I too wish I could send you some of her Christmas goodies, Kathy! 🙂 Unfortunately, our post office isn’t working very well, and they would be old and crumbled to bits by the time they reach you! And yes, it would be prohibitively expensive. But I’m sure you have your own small local bakeries that you love to support, and I think that’s what it’s all about… helping others in our communities.

        Reading your article and all the comments reminded me that there are so many different ways of giving or sharing our bounty with others, or even just giving of our energy, our time, our compassion, our listening… it doesn’t have to be money or things.

        • Kathy says:

          I so understand it would be cost prohibitive and a failure, but you’re right about our own local bakeries. We visited one nearby last week to get a sandwich and treats. I am glad that we can think of many different ways to give of ourselves. Thank you so much, Reggie!

  10. Most of my giving is to animals. I make monthly donations to charities for birds, whales and dolphins, a farm animal sanctuary, Born Free and an organisation called Compassion in World Farming that lobbies for better conditions for farm animals.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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