This morning on the show “CBS Sunday Morning” I was taken by the story of a couple whose little boy died from a rare form of cancer. They talked about their heartache and how they are coping with it. By simple acts of anonymous giving to strangers, they are honoring the generous, life-affirming spirit of their son. In the process their acts have ignited a movement in their community and beyond to do the same; giving just for the goodness in it with no expectation of reciprocity or thanks!
This leaves me thinking about how we would do well to apply the same concept of giving in our intimate, personal relationships. Often in circumstances of everyday familial conflict and pain we are far less generous, when generosity is the key to resolving such moments in a positive, growth-oriented way.
Rather than surrendering to our self-serving ego’s need to defend us from such emotional pain – an automatic reaction – we would do well to learn to overcome this primitive instinct. When we are able to courageously stop defending and really listen, we move away from anger and hate. Wisely, this is what many did in response to the senseless killings at Sandy Hook, turning instead to acts of community and giving.
This kind of choice helps us cope with our pain. In this way we behave from a place of humility and personal dignity. Put into the context of a quarrel with a spouse or child, for example, when we give that important other person the respect, understanding and consideration we want for ourselves, it eventually becomes clear that this is the way to bridge the gap that defensiveness creates. Only from this enlightened place can we celebrate our emotional riches in our private and public choices to be generous.
Want to feel really good? Next time you’re in pain, regardless of the situation or cause, open your mind, your heart and celebrate life’s greatest gift — “To Love Is To Give!”