My husband and I don't disagree on much. We're on the same side regarding politics, religion, and sports teams, and we even share favorite movies and whiskies. But there is one topic that always comes between us:
Children's books. More specifically, The Giving Tree.
If you've forgotten how the story goes, let me remind you. A boy and a tree are great friends. The tree gives everything to the boy so the boy can have a rich life, and the tree is happy. The tree gives away all its leaves and twigs and branches. At the end of the book, the tree is just a stump, and it's still trying to give.
I think the tree is a beautiful metaphor for our souls and the deep reward we feel when we are generous. My husband thinks the tree is a co-dependent fool that needs to set better boundaries for itself.
It's a touchy subject. We don't really go there.
For me, nothing is so troubling about the state of the world today as an overarching theme of "not giving." When I was learning about our country as a young girl in school, I was amazed to read how many Americans fought and died in wars. Their sacrifice absolutely blows me away. In World War II, Americans gave their lives on the beaches of Normandy to defeat Nazis and give life back to that country, including the Parisians. Today, we have a President that won't even sign his name to the Paris Climate Agreement.
In an age when we are being told to put "America first," I feel the exact opposite. Now more than ever, I want to give to others. Not because I'm a glutton for punishment, and not because I'm a co-dependent fool. I want to give because nothing--I mean nothing--gives me a better feeling than helping somebody else, American or not. Case in point: I woke up today throwing myself a pity party. We had a long morning working at the building with the kids. Then halfway through the day, a few of our close friends stopped over in a crisis. And so, with a hundred other things to do...
We dropped everything. We gave our time. We gave our ears. And we also gave them dinner, which was abysmal. But still.
Reader, we of course need to take care of ourselves first. As I've written before, we cannot pour from an empty cup. But at the same time, we cannot be stingy with what we have to offer. If you have something to give, please...give it. In a world divided, we must remain generous. Generosity is the very best way to drive out bitterness.
I leave you with this picture of my kids tonight. My generous two year-old tends to show his affection in balls. His sister...is still trying to figure out how to appreciate his generosity. Please keep taking care of each other this week, folks. I'll see you back here next Sunday. -Em