Gratitude without platitude

Thoughts to Ponder

 “… When you receive, not only do you affirm your own worthiness

and open the way for more,

but you make possible greater joys for the giver….

*The Universe

So many holidays this time of year can lead to stress or to joy. That choice is entirely up to us. We start the season with Halloween and giving candy to Trick or Treaters. While we’re still eating the leftovers we’re shopping for Thanksgiving. We cook for days and dinner dishes aren’t finished yet when stores begin their Black Friday sales. From then on, preparing for all the winter gift giving opportunities keeps us on our toes, trying to avoid traffic jams at the malls, watching the ads for sales and telling the kids that, “That expensive toy may not be in Santa’s budget this year.”

Each winter we have Hannukah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Years, all gift giving and receiving opportunities. We go to store after store looking for perfect gifts. Some of us actually started craft projects months ago. Either way we are putting a lot of thought and effort into our gifting opportunities.

We should put just as much effort into our receiving opportunities. This is not to say we should heap flatteries over an unwanted item. But we should recognize that the giver made an effort to find something we’d like and acknowledge that. One example of not receiving graciously is my mother who was taught to be a humble receiver. Humble is good, degrading yourself is not.

No matter what I gave her it was too much and/or too expensive. After years of her denigrating herself as well as my gifts, I said, “Mom, you take all the fun out of giving.” To her question of how, I replied that each birthday and Christmas I tried to find the perfect gift. Each time she said it was too much. Her negative comments made me wonder why I tried so hard to please her. After a moment of silence, she responded, “My friend told me last week that I take the blessing out of giving.” I said, “Your friend is correct. Can you just say thank you and stop there?”

Can we, each of us, offer sincere gratitude for gifts received without extraneous commentary? That is unless the gift is really fantastic. In that situation we can bubble over with complimentary adjectives.

I must admit that bit of wisdom did not originate with me. After years of saying that gifts were “too much” a friend gave me that same talk. Fortunately, I listened to her advice and years later my mom listened to mine.

Spirit: You shower us with gifts every day and we express our gratitude by thanking you for the new day, new opportunities, trees, flowers, grass, birds, animals and more. We know that you freely give those gifts that we can never earn. We express our gratitude by enjoying those gifts. We can we do no less in our personal interactions. And, so it is.

*A Note from the Universe, www.tut.com, December 2, 2016

© by Sharon D. Dillon, December 2, 2016

Sharon D. Dillon, energywriter@cox.net, http://energywriter.me “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy” Author of Echoes of your Choices, 2016, available as a paperback or e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites.

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Voices of Williamsburg Toastmasters Club.

Advertisements

A Halloween to Remember

It was 1968. Orville had recently returned from his second tour in Vietnam and purchased a small house in Copperas Cove, Texas. A few local families were the backbone of the community. The rest of us were military families attached to Fort Hood.

To give you a little background, Orville grew up in rural West Virginia where costumes were whatever Mom could scrape together out of old clothes. Because they lived in the country, the kids only went trick-or-treating at two or three houses.

I grew up in an Ohio town that was large enough to have three elementary schools. Towns were safer then, so we went in groups carrying shopping bags or pillow cases and had the run of neighborhoods that were within walking distance.

About a week before Halloween Orville and I went commissary-shopping. I began piling bags of candy into the cart. He returned most of the candy to the shelves. I put it back in the cart. He asked, “Why are you buying so much candy?”

“For Trick-or-Treat.”

“You’re buying too much.”

“No, I’m not. We need much more than this.”

“How much candy do you plan to give each child?”

“Two pieces.”

“Then one bag should be enough.”

“No it won’t. The Smith’s have four children. The Jones’ have five. We have three. The rest of the families on our street have approximately the same number and kids will be coming from other neighborhoods.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I am. We need at least 12 bags of candy, 20 would be better.”

“I don’t believe you, but I’ll agree to 10 bags.”

“That won’t be enough.”

“That’s all I’m buying.”

On Halloween I put the candy in a soup kettle and asked Orville to watch for Trick-or-Treaters while I dressed our three little ones in their homemade costumes. I reminded him not to give anyone more than two pieces.

“We’ll have candy left for Easter,” he complained.

“No we won’t. Remember I grew up in a town and know what kind of crowd to expect.”

Soon, the door bell rang and there stood four little beggars. Three more arrived just as he was handing candy to the first group. Then there were another five. There was a Superman, a cowboy, a doctor, a princess and more. Orville ran to grab his movie camera and said, “You pass out the candy. I’m filming this.”

“We agreed that I’d take the kids out and you’d pass out the candy,” I said.

“We’ll pay the neighbor girl a dollar to take the kids out. I have to get this on camera.”

And so the evening went, until we were down to two bags of candy. I told Orville that I needed to make more treats and headed for the kitchen. I had baked cookies that day – just in case. Two cookies went into each sandwich bag. Soon all our apples, oranges and bananas flew into outstretched treat bags. Then I began popping and bagging popcorn.

That was nearly gone when, finally, curfew hit and we were able to take a few deep breaths. Orville said, “I can hardly believe what I just saw. Next year we’ll be better prepared.” I couldn’t resist tossing a “told you so” his direction.

The following year not only did we buy more candy, but Orville also invited another couple to bring their candy to our house. The men passed out the candy and filmed the Trick or Treaters while we moms took our pre-schoolers house-to-house, then returned to make sure the snacks kept coming.

copyright by Sharon D. Dillon, October 27, 2016