Dear Giver, Please Love Yourself First

[Image by Martin Ujlaki]
Dear Giver,

I have a confession to make. You may not know who I am, or much about me, but I have been observing you for quite a while now. I might not know your last name, or even your first, but the little I've seen is enough to make me conclude that you are an amazing human being.

You give, and you give...and then you give some more. You don't get any rest until you've given for a day. That's why I call you "The Giver." I look at you from my window sill, and every step you take down the street carries such grace. Within each feet is someone lost, waiting to be found by you. Or a poor ragged man who would have gone without lunch, but you went and changed his hopelessness into hope. Or a young girl who thinks she's lost, but because you were there at the right time, she finds her way home again.

Sometimes, I wonder if you ever pause to take a deep breath.

The other day, I saw you with your brother. You two were joking about something, and then it turned into an argument. You must have been telling him not to make the same mistakes you made, but in the end, I watched you dip your hands into your pocket to give him the money he needed. Your brother is lucky to have you.

On another day, I bumped into you. You looked alarmed, but quickly regained your composure, apologizing profusely, and then bending down to pick up the piles of papers which fell from my hand.

"I am sorry, I wasn't looking," you said.
"I am terrible about watching out too, it's not your fault. Sorry."
"Would you like me to buy you lunch?" The Giver in you showed up in that second.
"Don't worry about it, dear."
"No, seriously. I owe you one."

You ended up buying my coffee the next morning, and you came all the way to the sixteenth floor to deliver it to my office. Your generosity, although you may not have realized it, had extended all the way from the first floor to the sixth, from your heart to mine.

Again, sometimes I wonder if you ever pause to take a deep breath. Sometimes, I think about you, and I ask myself if you ever stopped beside the beggar down the street to smell the roses layered on the green grass. Yes, you gave him the money, but I wish you paused to smell the flowers.

I pray for you every day. And I pray that you receive so much more. I pray you do, Giver, because you deserve it.

Yours Sincerely,
Your Admirer.
(fictional letter)

* * * * *

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)

It's such a beautiful thing to be a giver. But sometimes we get caught up in the "doing" and not in the "receiving."

Before Jesus faced the multitudes, He often went up to the mountains alone. And what did He do when He went up there? He received a refreshing wind from His Father. And then He went back down to the throngs of crowds, to give what He had lovingly received.

That scripture, "Love your neighbor as you love yourself," further emphasizes that you have to love yourself (take care of yourself) before you can truly love (or take care of) others.

✪ You need joy in yourself before you can truly have the capacity to give joy.

✪ You need to love yourself first before you can totally lose yourself in loving someone else.

✪ You need to nourish yourself first to have the nutrients to pour out on others.

Dear Giver, please love yourself first. Then only will you have the "full" capacity to love others as God loves you.