Did you ever look at children's faces when they open a gift?
The sheer anticipation and excitement and curiosity as they
remove the wrapping paper?
I think of how I often want gifts. Gifts make us feel special
and wanted and important -- even more so when the gift is
wrapped. And yet, I know that as much as I want gifts, and
wish that I received more (I'm human and have attributes of
jealousy and desire that I need to curb, also the need to be
appreciated and remembered), when I DO receive a gift, I open
it with a sense of apprehension and trepidation in fear of
what if I don't like what the person has given me? I
also know that all too often, I have disliked what I have
been given. One would do best to just give me chocolate or
credit to buy something at a book store.
Yet I enjoy giving gifts to friends. Gifts are a symbolic way
of showing recognition for the kindnesses shown to me. My
gifts are often practical and thought out, rarely expensive
but usually well appreciated.
However, I have to learn also how to receive gifts from my
friends. Gifts are not only on birthdays or holidays.
Sometimes a gift is given during an illness or in celebration
of a job well done. Not all gifts are tangible. Some are the
emotional gift of friendship and acceptance, of reaching out.
In life we have to learn to accept all types and to
acknowledge the act of giving by receiving graciously.
Life is a give-and-take situation on an almost daily basis.
In order to live life fully, one has to have a sense of
emotional balance and timing in giving and taking. There is
always a compromise to be made in everything we do so as not
overdo our impulsive giving.
By nature, some people are givers and some are takers. The
givers are people who devote themselves to others in helping
and giving of themselves in time, advice or possessions. The
takers are the people who at times seem to drain you of your
vitality by squeezing your emotional stamina dry until you
feel empty and need time out to recharge. But givers
invariably do recharge...
Then there are the people who know how to give but not how to
take. There has to be a balance, otherwise feelings of
frustration arise at the lack of reciprocity. One cannot only
give. One has to know how to also take, to accept with love
and gratitude that something is given, and the gesture that
motivates the act.
People who only take are missing out on the inner joy that is
attained through giving of themselves. And everyone has
something to give, if only a listening ear... Similarly,
people who always give to others without accepting what
others give, or try to give, to them, are missing out on
receiving love for themselves. Actually, letting others give
to you is also a form of giving!
The act of taking, for a giver, is a form of completion in
their emotional being. When you allow yourself to take from
others, you are, in essence, giving to yourself and balancing
the scales. Indeed, the way in which we accept gifts, even
someone's smile, is an art in itself, because one must make
the effort to give the giver that sense of gratification
which comes upon giving.
May we all show our proper gratitude to all givers,
including, first and foremost, the ultimate Giver -- of life
and limb and of everything we possibly have and need.
[Perhaps the preponderance of giving on Purim (often) ad
absurdum can give us a glimpse into the infinite giving and
giving and giving of our own Father.]