When I was little I gave away my favorite Pokemon card to a friend, because he had an inadequate deck. If you had/have a Pokemon deck (no shame), then you know how big of a deal it is to part with your cards. I vividly remembering watching some twisted episode of Arthur, or maybe the Magic School Bus, in which a main character gave away a treasured possession to a friend out of goodness. As a result of their goodness, they received all the joy and bliss in the world.
I did not feel the least bit satisfied after giving away this Pokemon card. In fact, my emotions were quite the opposite—anger, confusion, and betrayal. PBS had totally ripped me off. I was left with one less Pokemon card, and a plate full of regret.
I feel like we all have been dished the lie that giving is healthier for the giver than the receiver. But if you’re giving out of selfish means, is that any worse than giving out of obligation?
Shouldn’t we be giving out of the goodness of our hearts?
Giving isn’t pretty.
Giving makes you weak, vulnerable, and accumulates countless risks.
Giving leaves everything up to the receiver, for better or worse.
Giving is an act of letting go, without expecting anything in return.
So why have we reduced giving to an emotional high?
Or a societal obligation?
Giving, in the purest sense, is love.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves