Give what you can, share what you have, and receive the love and kindness returned with a open heart, a smile and a kind word. – Mala Shah
What does that mean?
This appears to be an original quote from MDS, but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful, or any less impactful. It’s a sentence my English teachers would have loved to have us diagram, but I’ll try my best to break it down.
It starts out by asking us to give and share what we can. From my experience, even in the times when we feel we have nothing, there are things which we have in surplus.
Even something as “insignificant” as our time, or even a smile, can be given or shared. And it does make a difference to others, which is why I put it in quotes.
It concludes by asking us that when the love and kindness come back to us (implying that what we really gave or shared was love and kindness, regardless of what we thought we gave) to accept it graciously.
Specifically mentioned were an open heart, a smile and a kind word. Think of the times you have thanked someone. How did they respond, and how did you feel? How does this part of the sentence fit into that equation?
Why is grace important?
In this case, I mean grace as in grace and dignity. The quiet kind of grace when you smile and nod when someone quietly thanks you for doing something kind or helpful. I believe it is important because it is one of the ways that we make social interaction easier and more pleasant.
Society has rules and expected behaviors. They also have stretch-goals, the things which are really nice and help make life better for everyone. This kind of grace is a stretch goal for social interaction. It is something that really doesn’t cost much, but it does take a little effort.
However, it is a habit. One which must be cultivated over time. One which works best when taught at an early age. But it is also one which can be learned by any who are willing to take the time, and put in the effort.
While it isn’t trivial, it can be learned in steps and in different areas of our lives. Getting the results you desire may not happen quite as quickly as you might want, but the rewards will keep you doing it for the rest of your life.
Where can I apply this in my life?
This is another one of those universal quotes. You can use this anywhere and any time. Even on a busy day, can you spare a few moments to say hi to someone? At least make eye contact and smile as you rush on to the next thing on your to-do list?
Think back to when you were a kid. What did you share, besides germs? I shared all kinds of toys, games, and time. I went on walks with friends, bike rides, and even built forts with them. I often shared cookies and whatever else I could sneak out of the kitchen. (sorry mom)
I also shared time with them. Reading books, hanging out and chatting, even playing chess or with Lego(R). While you may not have shared these exact same things, you probably gave and shared other things with others. At least a few times, right?
But that’s just the first half of the quote. What about what you get back? As a kid, I really didn’t think about it much, but I was fairly appreciative. I didn’t plan or think about it, it was just in my nature. As always, there was plenty of room for improvement, and I have been working on it.
How often did you get thank-you’s back? Sometimes kids forget to say it, but did they remember to demonstrate it? Ever have someone disappear, only to return a little later with a cookie or some candy to cheer you up, having remembered that you did that for them earlier?
How have we changed from the days of our youth to now? I went through a period where I was fairly selfish. I didn’t give or share much. But I got better. I’m still not great at accepting praise, but I’m working on that as well (keeping an open heart helps quite a bit).
We all have places where we could stand to improve, if only just a little. Which parts of today’s quote do you well? Which are the most challenging? How would your life be different if you could do better at all the parts of the quote? What will it take to get you to start improving?
It’s your life, and you can live it as you wish. But we’d all be better off if we all could do a better job of following these guidelines. Are you up for the challenge?
- The Best Way to Feed your Soul this Fall (crossroadsoftheheart.com)
- 10 Ways to Be a Human Being. ~ Kelsea Erickson (elephantjournal.com)
- Day 3: Happily Ever After (jessicawrenkyle.wordpress.com)
- Grace smells like Jergens lotion (messymiddle.com)