Christmas Eve of 2011 after a wonderful feast with my family at my sister's house, I drove my 95 year old grandmother to her home. On the way grandma thanked me for going so far out of my way to take her home and she mentioned how she didn't like being a burden. She was not happy that she could not repay me, and others who were helping her, for our kindness.
Of course she was feeling the law of reciprocity, (which applies in EVERY culture on earth). Very simply the law explains that when someone gives you something you feel an obligation to give back.
Contrast that with Christmas Eve 2012 with Neale Donald Walsch, the author of the Conversations with God books, at Neale's Annual Christmas Eve party in the Ball Room of a local hotel.
Before the party Neale called me and asked if I would appear as Santa Claus and join him on the stage as a part of the presentation he was making. Of course I was honored. He asked what I would charge and I said I would be happy to do it for free. Neale insisted on paying me. Why? The law of reciprocation.
We had entered into a reciprocal agreement. I provided a service, Neale paid a fee. We were even.
Transactions like that are easy to be a part of. We enter into them all the time.
Receiving without seeing a way to payback can be difficult.
We are taught as young children to be great givers, yet we may never learn to receive with grace.
I know that when somebody asks me if we want something I have often been quick to deny their request. I don't want to impose. I now realize that by not accepting what I'm offered I'm actually shutting the door of love on their face.
The fact is that by not receiving their gift I am actually taking a gift away from them. I am cheating them of an opportunity to express their love to me. This includes even small niceties like a glass of water.
Just as it is important to give with grace, it is also important to receive with grace. When we allow ourselves to receive it adds a fullness to our being. Receiving with grace is as important if not more than giving.
I explained to my grandmother that what she sees as a burden I see as a gift. My life is richer because I am able to do these things for her.
Here's the important take away from this message.
My grandma said she felt like she was a burden and this was a feeling she did not like.
Feelings are a choice. During the 30 minute drive I explained to my grandma that she could simply chose to not feel like a burden anymore and simply feel thankful that she is here and in a position that allows me to feel more meaning and contentment in my life.
We laughed and talked all the way to her house.
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