The gift of giving

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By Nina S. Custodio


Saturday, December 14, 2013

THIS week, I learned a valuable lesson in giving. No, it is not "It is better to give than to receive," although we all should have realized that by now.

But. The. Truth. Is.

We derive joy from being on the receiving end. I like getting gifts, especially the ones I get unexpectedly. It makes me happy because I believe that any person who surprises you with a gift thinks of you fondly.

It's that time of year when people flock to the malls to do their Christmas shopping. Commercialism has never been as alive the way it thrives during the Christmas. People just seem to be naturally generous and in the mood! I get the same feeling whenever I look at the people happily going on their merry way, shopping for gifts for their loved ones. The Christmas carols do their magic too. It just really wants you to give anyone you meet with a smile and greet them Merry Christmas!

This year, Christmas is different, as we have experienced some harrowing natural calamities that has left a lot of our countrymen homeless and orphaned. The whole country struggles with the blow that the typhoon has struck us. Hopelessness and despair has become a national feeling, a shared emotion that we all need to fight so that we can move on and rebuild our lives.

The outpouring of love and support encourages us to look towards the future with hope that things will get better soon. The innate concern to do something good for the survivors just warms the heart and allows us to heal slowly, giving us the strength the rise above these challenges.

Never has the gift of giving become more meaningful and much appreciated than now. We read about prisoners giving up their meals so that the money can be donated to the survivors. We have seen pictures of happy children amidst the desolated background of uprooted trees and houses in ruin, clutching a toy or food from anonymous benefactors.

Even children stepped up to donate, privileged or not, offering their piggy bank savings or what money they have made from a day's work. Everyone is just so keen on giving that everybody else finds themselves encouraged to do the same. Everyone is doing what they can to give, to share.

Sometimes we hold on to certain things because of its material worth or it's significance to us. There are times when it can be both. Somehow, these past few days, I have learned to let go of these possessions mainly because I realized that it is best to share it with others who will benefit for it more than I ever will. For some it may be clothes that you have never even worn, or shoes that you have only worn once. For others it would be toys your children have overgrown or books no one has read in a long time (and probably never will), gathering dust and decaying in one corner of your house that deserves cleaning anyway.

Why don't we share it with those who need it?

Yes there will be articles that are hard to part with, but sometimes you have to toughen up to do a good deed for someone else! I remember a good friend telling me that true giving is giving up something even when it hurts. Hmm. I actually found that quite funny at first. Why should giving hurt? I did not think that it would be a problem when you give something wholeheartedly. I remember my grandfather telling me as a child that it is the only way to give--with all your heart.

This week, I learned it was true. When you give something out of the goodness of your heart, even when the 'giving' is a bit difficult, you actually end up feeling happy. When you share something with others, may it be material things, your ideas or your time, even when you feel a bit of hesitation, makes you feel rewarded for it in the end.

The unselfish act of letting go so that others can benefit may be long and painstaking, but when you manage to do it, will make you feel that the sacrifice was all worth it. I had trouble parting with certain things that I had just because they were mine.

Things that mean something to me or have become a part of me are even more difficult to give up. But the recent experience with witnessing Typhoon Yolanda and its aftermath forced me to reexamine my life and appreciate what I have. I have come to realize that what really matters most are things that we cannot put a value family and friends who are always there for you.

The survivors of Yolanda have lost so much and the road to rebuilding their lives will be long and challenging one too. How can anyone not give? The gift of giving is knowing that you have done something to try and make at least one person happy, regardless whether it meant sacrificing comfort on your end. It is knowing for a fact that you realize that there are people who deserve it because they have made an impact on you and they have made you discover important facts about life.

The gift of giving is that it teaches you that you don't do it to impress people about what you can give, it gives you the chance to leave a positive impression that the person who receives your present is worthy of your time and effort because they matter and they deserve to know they're important and just how much they are loved.
Happy Sunday!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 15, 2013.


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