December 10th: Give
This time of year, we are bombarded with requests to give what we can to others. We have a United Way drive at work, the Salvation Army dudes are out ringing their bells, our mailboxes are filled with envelopes asking for money. And you know…if you have it to give, it is a nice thing to do. But not all of us have it like that, especially around Christmas time. We have families to travel to, gifts to buy, dinners to plan.
You know what you always have to give, though? Yourself. Your time. Your ears and your arms and your love. Just by virtue of being the beautiful person you are on this planet right now, you are a small but mighty giving machine.
A girlfriend of mine is going through a terrible time right now. I know she is scared and sad, lost and confused. There’s not a lot I can offer her that will make anything better…but I do have time. I have that. So, I went and sat with her for a while the other night. I promised to keep my ringer turned on for her, and I have. I keep checking in with her several times a day.
A young friend of my daughter’s is also really struggling right now. Lots of heartache and hurt, all the pain of growing up compounded by feeling abandoned by their family. I spent a good hour just talking about stuff with them yesterday. Offering the wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years, and letting them know that they are doing an excellent job. And that I am here, always.
Yesterday, I helped an elderly woman pull her garbage cans in. She had a really long driveway, and she was trying to pull in the cans while walking with a cane. I was running super late and I had yelled at Camryn for going so slow, and I sat there at the stop light, and it hit me- this was one of those moments where I could just go on with my day- no one would ever know the difference, right? Or…I could do something decent. I pulled up, jumped out, asked if I could help. I put her cans by her porch, said goodbye, and went on my way. It took less than a minute.
The thing is, acts of service feed our souls. These things do not feel like chores by any means. I love being there for my friends, I love having this young person turn to me and feel safe talking to me. It makes me feel useful and connected and…loving. The love I give somehow fills me rather than takes anything away. Giving fills me up.
I don’t know about you, but that five or ten bucks they take out of my paycheck doesn’t make much of an impression on my heart. Showing up for people always does. Always. Without fail. If you don’t think you have anything to give, I’m here to tell you that you’re wrong. Give a smile, a hug, a moment of your time. Make someone’s day a little brighter. Make someone feel seen, heard, acknowledged. You have so much to give…if you are feeling a little empty, try to give a little of yourself. See how that feels.