Giving a gift can be a very powerful thing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 30, 2004

Hank Sanders/State Senator

“We always have something to give,” my mother said.

“Even if it’s nothing but a smile or a thank you.”

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Her life imbued her statement with extraordinary power for she had so little but gave so much.

Each day I am empowered by the spirit that infuses her words.

“I want to give you something,” I said to Jeanette as she was about to leave my office.

She stopped and looked at me, a question spreading across her face.

“A hug,” I said, answering the question.

She said “Oh, yes!” a big smile replacing the questioning expression.

I recognized the words and thoughts as gifts as I gave her my biggest, warmest, safest hug.

She returned in kind.

As Jeanette left my office, she said, “That’s as good as it gets!” with her smile growing even bigger.

We always have something to give.

Mary came in shortly thereafter.

Before I could say anything, she said, “Give me a hug.”

We hugged, and she said “I needed that!”

Then she told me that her mother was in the hospital and she was leaving to see about her.

I didn’t know the hug was just what the doctor ordered for Mary.

Sometimes we give more than we know.

I heard Faya Rose on the phone saying that they had lots of clothing to give females but not many for males.

She and other women were giving their personal clothing as well as collecting others to give.

I said, “My clothes are probably too big, but you can take anything from the back third of my closet.”

She said, “They wear their clothing big these days.

We especially need coats and sweaters for the winter cold.”

I was willing to give up to half the clothing in my closet.

However, I did not want to give the time to get them out of the closet.

I would rather give money or more things.

In spite of my disposition, the pile of clothing grew high as I pulled piece after piece of mostly never worn clothing from the closet.

I had given something I wanted and needed:

my time.

Sometimes we have to give that which we value, not just what we don’t want or need.

“I do not give Christmas gifts to my nieces and nephews anymore,” Janet said.

“I spend time with them.

Last year I took them on an outing and to a movie and they loved it.”

We always have time to give for everyone of us commences each day with 84,600 seconds in time.

Giving is more powerful than receiving.

When we receive we get one gift. When we give we receive two gifts.

We don’t have any control over our receiving, but we do control our giving.

Giving lifts both the receiver and the giver in special ways.

There are no bad side effects to giving if we don’t expect anything in return. Giving is so powerful.

William Scott, the newly elected 29-year-old mayor of Mosses, Alabama came by my office.

He radiated a good spirit:

open; confident; willing to help; reaching out; determined to lift his community; etc.

Then he gave me a gift.

“So much of what I learned in Twenty-First Century Youth Leadership Movement helped me to be what I am today,” he said.

“Learning about conflict resolution, mediation, and how to get things done helps me everyday.

Your positive and caring attitude really impacted me.”

Sometimes we give without even know we are giving.

I called a fellow community struggler about a small crisis.

Out of the clear blue, I said, “I appreciate you.”

I could hear the smile in her voice.

“That was a gift,” Carol said.

“When I am given any gift, I realize I was thought of exclusively for a moment.

The thought is a gift unto itself.”

I now view each written card, each verbal “Happy Holidays,” and each gift through the prism of being thought of exclusively for a moment.

We have so much to give.

“I want to thank you,” Ola said.

“My grandson is going on to Wallace College.

He was so determined not to go to college.

After you spoke at the C.I.T.Y. Graduation Program, he changed his mind.

Somehow you touched him. His going on to college is the best Christmas gift I could have.

You don’t know how much you touch people.”

Her words were gifts.

Sometimes a small gift to one grows into a big gift to another.

When we expect a gift, we rob the gift-giver.

When we expect a gift, what is given sometimes fulfills the expectation but always displaces the gift.

We give just by not expecting a gift.

Giving is so powerful and we always have something to give.