Receiving is as Good as Giving
Updated: Mar 20
My family hosted over the holidays. I had longed to do this and worked hard to reach out to our relatives to make arrangements. Most were able to come and we were very excited.
Then I had to clean the house. That was not exciting.
When I told my friend and asked for prayers, she offered to help me clean.
I was appalled.
It felt embarrassing—shameful even—to have someone come over and see the cat hair and layers of dust on top of our chandeliers. This friend has a house that is always both welcoming and tidy. (I have no idea how she does it.)
Then I remembered my elderly neighbors and how much help they have recently needed. I remembered how we all end up needing help in our lives and how silly and even damaging it is to think we can do it alone.
I also remembered that she pet-sits for us and still loves us even though she knows about the cat hair.
I decided that it would be a good idea to practice letting people help me when I am older by letting someone help me with a smaller thing right now. I called my friend and told her I'd changed my mind. I did want her help.
We ended up having a marvelous time cleaning. She dusted and I worked on the floors. We told stories and laughed while we worked. Later she told me it reminded her of cleaning with her sister and thanked me.
Letting her help me turned out to be a gift to both of us.
I thought about this joy of giving AND receiving as I chose Hilltop Artists as a charitable organization for Art Words and Yoga to support and also as I worked to raise funds for a local non-profit called L'Arche.
I no longer believe that it is better to give than to receive any more than I believe it's better to receive than it is to give. I can't have one without the other and living in community with others means I will need to do both with grace. I am even making a subtle judgement on others when I insist on only giving while refusing to take what others generously offer me.
By giving 10% of my Magic Dust eCourse proceeds to Hilltop Artists, I also receive a gift—the gift of being a part of their vision to bring art and healing to young people in my community.
I chose Hilltop Artists because I want to be a part of that vision, too.
I chose them because my sister so loved working with middle school children. Giving holds me closer to her because the programs serve kids at that age.
I chose them because of the many teenagers I worked with over the years as an English teacher. I like to think that I am continuing that work through this program.
I chose them because I sincerely believe that art and expression heals in ways that other medicines cannot.
And I chose them because I have always dreamed of lighting glass on fire myself. Giving to Hilltop Artists might bring me one step closer.
Much like my friend told me she was grateful to give to me, I'm grateful that I can give and be a part of what that organization does.
My house is messy all over again. The guests came and left and we fell back into our comfortable ways. But I know what to do when I want to welcome people again to a more sparkling version of my home. I'll ask for help when I need it and offer it when I can in a circle of caring that will keep spinning on no matter how much dust gathers on my chandeliers.