What Can I Give?

Sitting here in my humble apartment, I ask myself, “What gift can I possibly give to those in need? The words I offer sometimes seem trite and meaningless.”

I’m reminded, though, that many of the gifts we offer are small, ordinary things – a cordial greeting, a comforting visit, or a gentle touch. If we have good humor, then laughter is our gift. If we can cook, then food is our gift. If we can make music or hold a hand or listen well, then that is our gift. The currency of our kindness flows from what we are, what we love.

If we’re preoccupied with what is missing and what is broken and wrong, we lose the miraculous harvest of all of these small gifts, piled upon one another, which accumulate without our acknowledging them. Becoming more aware of the infinite blessings of a single day will not erase our sorrows, but it will help us remember how strong and rich we can be even in the midst of suffering. A single word of gratefulness can transform a moment of sorrow into a moment of peace.

Every gift is a drop of water on a stone, every act of kindness helps us remain helpful and balanced. We thrive here on earth as we bring what we have and offer it at the family table.

I often feel like I have so little to offer. But then I remember that a gift is like a seed. If I wait until the seed becomes a tree before I offer it, I will wait and wait and the seed will die from the lack of planting it in the warm, moist earth. The miracle is not just the gift; the miracle is in the offering, for if I do not offer, who will?

If we ignore or suppress our offerings, however large or small, dramatic or simple, something deep and vital within us will wither and die. If we lovingly offer our gifts, we’ll experience what Gandhi so beautifully described: “The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.”

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