“Giving presents is a talent; to know what a person wants, to know when and how to get it, to give it lovingly and well.” ~ Pamela Glenconner, Edward Wyndham Tennant: A memoir …
Giving is such an important element to living a life rich with purpose and meaning. It provides necessities and brings nourishment to those around us, and can give us great happiness and satisfaction. It can help us to feel better about ourselves and our ability to touch the lives of others in need. It is a powerful expression of love that pours life, vitality, and happiness into the lives of the recipients, encouraging them to extend those blessings on to others and pour them forth into the world. And yet we often are focused primarily on the personal benefits we receive from our giving that we tend to overlook the positive impact that our gifts might have in the lives of others or think about it to only a small degree. As gift givers, we have the responsibility to give a gift that will really make the person receiving it happy and fulfilled, and not simply give a gift that we feel they should want.
This means that giving a gift is a talent, as Pamela points out. Perhaps you know someone in your own life who has this talent, someone who has made a difference in your life through a gift they have gifted you. Such individuals tend to have it down to an art; they are the ones who really listen when people tell them what they want, who pay attention to who the person is and not what they think the person should be, and we should aspire towards should be examples for us to aspire to this level of genuineness. After all, we all have the ability to pay attention to the people in our lives–to get to know them, understand them, listen to them when they speak, notice their likes and dislikes without imposing our own likes and dislikes on them. This might even mean giving a gift to someone that we would never have imagined giving, simply because we know that they would really need it or like it.
We share our love with others when we give of ourselves “lovingly and well.” In doing so, we tell them quite simply that we care about them enough to pay attention to them and get to know them, which truly is the most amazing thing we could give to someone who is important to us in our lives.
Take some time to listen to what is going on in the lives of those you care about.
Questions to consider:
Why do we so often tend to put so little thought into our gift-giving?
How might we learn more about what our loved ones truly want, and how we might give that to them?
How would you feel if someone were to give you just the right gift at just the right time? Is that a feeling you would like to give to someone else?
For further thought:
When I think of giving as an art–a creative expression of my Christ Light–I pour more of myself into giving. I tune in to ways I can support others and give meaningful gifts that will delight the receiver.
Divine ideas come to mind as I shift my focus away from “things” to the art of true giving. As I write a letter to a friend with whom I’ve lost contact or give an encouraging smile to a struggling stranger, I know that just what is needed is mine to give. I am inspired to give more as new creative expressions of giving come to mind. Knowing that the circle of giving is also receiving, I am grateful for all that I give and all that I receive.
~ Art of Giving, from the Daily Word, November 2, 2009