When you die, "You can only take with you that which you give away." This quote from the Catholic saint, St. Lawrence, popped into my head this week and gave me pause to reflect. It seemed to strike a stronger chord as recent life events have taken loved ones from us, some prematurely, some beautifully fulfilled, and others violently. Giving takes courage; It is not always easy to put our loving intentions out there, and to risk being rejected by another - 'Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.' - or of being fed on by another. It is much easier to put money into a donation box and then disappear into anonymity than to challenge our fears and commit to a face to face interaction with a fellow traveller in this life, who has fallen on hard times.
If I only have a little
But, I offer you a little
Of my little, then it’s bigger by one.
If we each take a little
Of the little that we have,
And share it with another who has none,
We would each have a little,
And that little would get bigger
Each time that it helps someone,
And little by little, we would all grow bigger,
Till our little building work is done.
The above poem that I wrote is entitled, 'Little Building' - one of a group of poems that will eventually make up my fourth children's book, "How To Patch A Puddle" .
Life is lived in little moments: What a long, love-filled life this would be If we gave until we had nothing left to give, for the giver always receives something back in return. I am not talking about material giving - that is certainly valuable, but it is not the best of what we have to offer; Our most valuable resources are contained within our individual, private treasure chests - chests that hold our smiles, our kind words, our encouragement, the gifts of our precious moments. These are resources that we have in abundance and that have the potential to give us all a return of the true wealth that comes from building understanding and hope.
The instruction manual for opening that 'hope chest' reads:
1. Click on the 'Courage' icon.
3. Encourage others.
Best Before Date: NOW!
You are the only 'you' there will ever be:
May you give as long as you live, and may love be in all of your giving,
May you feel great joy in your living, joy that will grow with each giving;
Don't dwell on the size of the gift, just one little smile aids forgiving,
And may your bags weigh a great loving ton,
When your 'little building' work is done!