Give Till It Doesn’t Hurt Anymore


‘Tis the season, right? The season of giving, thinking of others, of flooding food banks, putting spare change in the Salvation Army bucket, letting the person next to you in line go first.

Why isn’t it always the season of giving? Why don’t kindness and patience, love, friendship, and acceptance fill our hearts and homes, our offices and schools every day? Think of how amazing the world would be if we lived lives of love and giving all the time.

And then there’s the woman who gave out my cell number, randomly chosen I’m sure, and a fake insurance policy number at a recent fender-bender. Her victim, also named Jenny, called me and left a voice mail. She was confused by my outgoing message, she could tell she hadn’t reached Christina, or whoever it was who hit her. She said “If you’re Christina or know her, please call me back. I called your insurance company and they said the policy number you gave me has too many numbers. Anyway, thanks.” I called her back immediately. “I’m so sorry, Jenny. I think you’ve been had.” I felt awful telling her she’d been lied to. She was devastated; admitted to having been upset at the time. She hadn’t actually looked at the woman’s paperwork.  She did, however, get her license plate number. “I’m sure what she did is considered a felony,” I said. “You should call the police.” I felt slightly less than charitable when I wished bad things for Christina. But the lesson, whether “Christina” learns it now when arrested for felony hit-and-run, or later when the karma train comes around again, is that you get what you give. All year, every day, every minute. That’s what this life is about. It’s about living a life of love and giving rather than one of deception, of entitlement. Christina may never learn this. But maybe Jenny and I learned it a little more just crossing paths.

Yesterday was my birthday. I had family time in the morning and then later my husband and I went to see the movie “Invictus” about South Africa’s Rugby World Cup win in 1995. After that we had dinner at our favorite restaurant. The movie was wonderful, mostly because it is true.  Think about a man, Nelson Mandela, imprisoned and persecuted for close to three decades and when he was released, he turned to his captors and said, “I forgive you. I forgive you and I welcome you to join me in a community of love and acceptance. Now, let’s play some rugby!” I wept a lot during that movie.  

When we got to dinner, my husband gave me my present. It was a tryptich-type picture frame and in the outer two slots he placed the lyrics to the song “The Story” by Brandi Carlile. I wept some more. He said “I love that song and it makes me think of you, of our life together.”

Because these stories don’t mean anything

When you’ve got no one to tell them to

It’s true . . .

I was made for you.

The middle panel is empty for now; it awaits a recent photo of just us. Our kids are our family. But he and I are “The Story.” Just us. I thought I’d be safe opening my gift at the table. Tim didn’t expect such emotion either. Instead our waiter experienced true awkward as he brought us a shared Caesar while I openly wept with joy and gratitude, and it wasn’t for the Caesar. And I felt just how much I am loved. And this is my wish for Christmas, that everyone feels that. Maybe you will from a family member, a lover, a colleague, or even from a stranger who does a good deed. Somehow, let’s all do what Nelson Mandela did. It’s in simple actions and complex ones. Do whatever you can. It just needs doing. Let’s create a world of love and acceptance, not one of anger and fear. Let’s give till it doesn’t hurt anymore. Ever.


  1. I love you.


  2. heartwriter says:

    Absolutely beautiful.



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