Practicing Generosity with All Your Mind
Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Imagine the following scene. You are at a holiday party talking with someone, but soon realize that you don’t have their full attention. You notice that instead of looking at you they are looking over your shoulder, scanning the room. You get the distinct feeling that they are looking for someone they believe will be more important or interesting to talk with than you. Soon they move on to their next conversation, departing with a token, “It was great to see you,” which leaves you feeling annoyed and devalued. To be overlooked or brushed off is a painful experience most of us have faced at some point in our lives.
Giving the gift of our full attention to another is one of the greatest gifts we can offer. As we think about the gifts we may want to give this time of year, let’s not limit ourselves to thinking of only material gifts. As Emerson says, “The only true gift is a portion of thyself.”
When we have something significant to say we may start with, “I need your undivided attention right now.” Such a simple concept—undivided attention—and yet it is something that is increasingly rare for us either to give or receive, especially during a season that is filled with demands on both our time and attention.
As you continue to focus on being generous with others, pause and think about those who might need your undivided attention right now, and how you might give them the gift of “a portion of thyself.”
Making it personal: Three things I am grateful for today:
I was/will be generous with someone today by _______________
Follow along with us this Advent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.