The only [true] gift is a portion of yourself. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What does that mean?
Often quoted with the word [true] inserted, the proper quote omits it. The quote continues: “Therefore the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.”
The longer version does a pretty good job of explaining the quote, as does reading the source (see ‘confirmed’ section at the bottom of the post for a link). In short, it says that anyone can go out and buy a trinket. A true gift has something of the giver infused within it. There is a bit of their love within the gift.
That is why the examples include a poet writing a poem. I imagine that would apply even to those for whom poetry was not their field of expertise. Although prudence dictates that one should review poetry before giving it as a gift, lest the recipient believe it a curse, not a gift.
Why is giving of yourself important?
What is it about kids and their goofy made-at-school art that causes parents to keep it for years? Is it solely to embarrass them at the wedding rehearsal dinner, or is there actually something of this quote in those small gifts? Why else would you risk bug infestations to keep macaroni art from second grade?
Have you ever taken the time to consider how you felt after giving a gift, and comparing how those gifts of yourself compare to the gifts you just found in a store? What about the times you have received gifts, which are more memorable and have the greatest sentimental value, the gifts of someone, or gifts found by someone?
Yes, it’s nice to have expensive toys. I even have a few myself. But what truly makes an impact on your life? For me, the heart-felt and heart-made gifts are by far the most valuable. Even, or sometimes especially, if the person giving the gift isn’t exactly a rising star, the giving of themselves makes all the difference in the world.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Some of my most cherished gifts are the ones I was given by people who didn’t have money at the time to pay for the more ‘traditional’ gifts. How about you? Do you value something expensive from a store more than something made by hand and given directly from the heart?
And how does it feel to give a gift? Do you feel a greater connection when you give of yourself and your skills or talents than when you give something you found in a store? Is there greater joy in the act of giving when you know there is a part of you built into the gift? I know it does for me.
Additionally, which feels better, simply writing a check to a charity, or actually going to them and do some activity? Yes, for some, being busy means all they have to give is their money, but I believe even for them, the feeling of taking the time to help is special, when they can fit it in.
The question is “Where are your talents, and how can you make them into a gift?” What are you good at doing? The longer version of the quote includes a short list. Are you a poet? What kinds of arts or crafts can you do? Can you make something on the computer or in the workshop?
Can you write, be it poetry or paragraphs? Can you express yourself in some other manner? How could you make it into a gift? Would it fit in a box, or would you have to deliver it personally? Would you need help, or could you do it on your own? Where would you get the parts or material? Get thinking!
To whom might you give the gift? What gifts would you give a stranger, and what gifts would you give to the love of your life? What about all the people who are somewhere in-between? Which groups would you give what kind of gifts, and under what circumstances?
Have you ever considered any of these questions, and what the answers might be? That’s a lot of questions, isn’t it? I’m not saying that you have to bankrupt yourself in time, effort, or money to give gifts to everyone on the planet. That would be a little silly, wouldn’t it?
But what if you could? What do you think my blog is? Even if hardly anyone reads it (by comparison to the whole world), I have given a gift which is a portion of myself to everyone. Could you do something for anyone who could find it?
Even something as simple as placing photos on a public photo sharing site would count. Who knows, you might make someone smile. What would that be worth to you, to know you made someone’s day? Or that they chose your photo, out of all the photos on the web, for their blog? And what would those gifts mean to them?
There are lots of ways to give gifts, and lots of people to whom you could give them. What will you do today, this week, or this month to give a portion of who you truly are to someone else? A hug, a smile, a kind word, find a place to start. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, or even a complete stranger, you have something you can give. Will you?
From: Twitter, @Quotes_on_Love
confirmed at : http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Essays:_Second_Series/Gifts 2nd paragraph
Photo by Michael Homan