It is more gracious to give than to receive. Yes? Is this what you were taught and always believed?
I hear people say; “I love shopping and buying stuff for Christmas presents. I love to see their faces when they open them.”
But have you ever thought that it could work the other way around?
Ask what this would mean for you.
Say it; “It is more gracious to receive than to give.”
Does that make you feel uncomfortable? Did you realise that it can be just as gracious to receive as it is to give?
How can that be?
Well, what does it feel like to you when you want to give someone something, and they refuse to accept it?
It can be a compliment for example. “I love that dress.” “Oh this old thing, I think it’s horrible, but I have to wear it to keep the peace.”
Or; A present that you have shopped carefully for. And the person just tosses it to one side and doesn’t even thank you on Christmas morning.
Or; A neighbour or friend who you see is in need. You may offer to help or do something, but all you get is a rebuff such as “I can manage quite well thank you.”
Or; You offer someone a seat on the bus for all sorts of reasons. And they say “No thank you. I’d rather stand.”
Sometimes you can end up feeling foolish, hurt or that your gesture was something that you will think twice about in the future.
My experience of working with people in need, such as Older people, sick people, Mums trying to take care of the kids, has shown me how important it is to know how to receive.
Older people can be so obstinate, and many of us have to stand by and wait for the disaster waiting to happen. Sick people can be in denial of anything being amiss and will resist any attempt to persuade them to see someone who may help them.
Mums taking care of kids can be so independent and think that they know best. Even when others can see the struggle and just want to support them.
Yes, it does depend on how they are approached. Yes, sometimes it can be seen as interfering. But I wonder how many times we think that someone is interfering, or being patronising, but we would be so much better off receiving the support and making our lives more comfortable and making their day a pleasant one because they know they had a chance to give something.
I have decided that I am going to make life easier and more pleasant for those around me as I grow older. Accept what support there is, ask for it if necessary.
One reason why I have decided this is because I know many people who are struggling with taking care of their parents, who in turn just keep saying that they are all right. Even down to the point of not allowing much-needed carers to come into their homes, and will just shut the door in their faces.
And then, phoning their children to say that they need help.
Have you heard of the story of the drowning man at sea? His boat overturned and he prays to God for help. Along comes a helicopter and the man sends it away, saying “No God is going to help me!” Then along comes a lifeboat and the same happens again.
The man drowns, and when he gets to heaven, he complains to God that he had prayed for help, and why did God let him drown. God replies, “I sent a boat and a helicopter, what more do you want?”
I heard a story about a Buddhist centre and the head monk was very old and ill. Everyone enjoyed taking care of this gracious old man, and he allowed them to, he accepted all the care he needed and died peacefully knowing that he had given to his carers, by receiving the love and care that he needed.
So, remember this Christmas, that you can receive support, gifts, help with the shopping and cooking. Even if it does not seem to be happening, don’t just feel sorry for yourself, but ask for it. I am sure that if you swallow your pride, those around you will be only too delighted to help and support. And by receiving that support you, in turn, will give them the pleasure of receiving and giving at the same time.
It works all ways you see. It is just as gracious to receive as to give.
Happy Christmas everyone and I hope that you will see the blessings of both giving and receiving this year.