"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving


For God so loved the world, that He GAVE..." ~ John 3:16

This entry is for Babs.

I didn't meet Babs through this blog but it's apt to say she got to know me through it. And since she's the one friend who seems to miss my writing here the most, I feel it's just right that I write this entry with her in mind.

It's November and it's thanksgiving in a few days. For the past five years since I was once a runner and ran a half marathon, I think of Jack at this time of the year. And when I think of Jack, I think of all the gifts he's given me. And if there's anything he's given me, he's given me his mother Babs as my friend.

My friend Christine once described me as a giver, and I guess she's right. There is a pleasure - an in-your-sinews satisfaction and joy - in giving that is not found in other endeavors. A fullness of heart that I cannot even begin to describe.

But there's a hitch. There's a delicate requirement for genuine, heart-felt giving to take place: You need people who are willing, humble and brave enough to receive it.

When I met Jack and Babs and Juni, the planets were aligned. All our hearts were raw and open and we were all ready to both give and receive.

And there in that circle was where God taught me the most about the mystery and grace of giving. Elusive truths in this quid pro quo world:

Firstly, it takes profound humility, great courage and deep faith to be on the receiving end.

Secondly, the giver receives more - oh so much more - than what he or she can ever give. And even if the giving sometimes starts from a place of ego, God works with that too and uses that too, for the good of everyone - even the giver.

And thirdly, everyone in this exchange becomes immeasurably, unfathomably blessed. Transformed. No one loses. No one is short-changed. The only debt you are left with is an indebtedness of love and service to one another. It is a well that never runs dry. It is a wheel that runs on gratitude.

The real surprise is that I may have been the giver in this case, but do you know what God taught me? He taught me not to be a better giver, but a better receiver. Through Babs and Jack, God taught me how to recognize when people - strangers or otherwise - sincerely want to do something thoughtful and kind for me. I still hesitate to accept, I admit. But God always finds a way to let me know that He's using others to reach out to me and help me. I learned that when God provides, it is usually through other people that He does it. Who am I to say no to God's loving kindness? And so He grants me the courage to accept the kindness of others. I guess He knows that that's what my heart needs to learn. I still struggle with it, sure. But I'm learning.

Babs reminds me all the time that I am no longer the "others." It's her way of telling me that I am part of her family, not obviously in the biological sense, but in a deeper, more meaningful John 13:34 way. We are bound by Jack and blessed by God.

There have been times in my life when I have offered to give to the people I love and had been turned down. During those times, Christ consoles me that their resistance or refusal is not my concern. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8), He reminds me. He comforts me with the thought that sometimes, when I'm not given the privilege to give, it is enough to express my love by my willingness to give.

But today, I want to express my love by thanking Babs and Juni for blessing me with their gracious and wholehearted acceptance and appreciation of my help when I offered it. And my gratitude to Jack and God, for everything my heart learned and continues to learn in the aspect of receiving. Even four years after you've left us Jack, you my Braveheart are still the gift that keeps on giving to your Tita Mayang. She is grateful beyond words.

And thank you Babs, from the bottom of my bottomless heart, for appreciating my words.

(Photo credit: Marlowe_Jenny)

1 comment:

bluggerbug said...

Thanks for posting a new entry! Finally!