Giving and growth / by kevin murray

Many of us live in big urban cities, which because of their sheer size, means that a lot of our day-by-day interactions are with people that we really don't know or hardly know at all; and because of that, there is a strong tendency to develop a more selfish nature, mainly because in our minds, we believe that since they don't really know us and we don't really know them, that these people are thereby more often seen as a means to benefit ourselves at perhaps their expense.  That is unfortunate, for in small communities, and in nuclear families, as a matter of course, there is more sharing, because each person has a strong tendency to acknowledge their responsibility to the other, for there is a more intuitive recognition, that none lives to their own self, and that we therefore are all in this together, so that those that do all of the receiving, and none of the giving, will in one form or another, receive their upbraiding and reprimand.


In point of fact, each day, we are provided choices, as to whether to be a giver or to be a receiver, of which, if we don't put any thought into it at all, we all might well conclude that we would strongly prefer to be just receivers, because receiving seems to make more logical sense.  The thing is while most of us do have a strong desire for nice material things and for good experiences, the receiving of all of these items doesn't feel satisfying when it is done in a vacuum, or unfairly, for we are all in the scheme of things, part of the same human family and the same human experience, of which, there is much more joy in being able to share our lives in all of its aspects with others.


This would seem to strongly indicate that part of a successful life must involve some actual interchange with others, which obviously would necessitate giving of ourselves to those others.  In fact, it is in the giving, especially to those that are not in the position to reciprocate, such as a newborn baby, or a hapless individual, or someone down on their selves, that demonstrates that we are able to look beyond the mirror in front of us and see instead the vision of our unity with one another.


So too, the most surprising thing about giving to others, whether that be our time, or material goods, or advice, or material aid, is that in most cases, rather than feeling that we have sacrificed ourselves to another, that we instead feel an inner joy in having helped someone in a manner in which their sincerity of appreciation for that help is felt to be priceless.  While not all giving involves thankfulness, just knowing that we are doing our part to make society or a given situation a little better, helps us to feel more involved as well as the validation, that our actions and our deeds, really does matter, for we are touching and influencing others in a positive manner.


Truly, it is in the giving that we grow, for we are all in this together, for the race is not finished, until all do finish that race, and that does require teamwork, and faithful giving to all those others, that are sojourning or should be sojourning along side of us.