The Art of Receiving
Being out of work for nearly a year and a half has given me time to do volunteer work that I never felt like I had time for before. Even before that though, I found myself working for free at my children’s karate school. Since December of 2013 I have been walking dogs for a local shelter and have also transported dogs to rescues and vet appointments. After a string of transports, plus days walking dogs and then driving friends and family around; I have to admit I was feeling a little depleted. I do not expect anything in return and believe that if you are doing something like this expecting anything (including gratitude), you shouldn’t be doing it at all. My feeling was not one of feeling under-appreciated, so I was confused as to why I felt off after my last transport.
I knew I needed a little time away and had a nice clear weekend ahead with nothing on my schedule except picking up school supplies for my kids. So, after a lazy morning, I dropped my son off at his friends and took my daughter to get the rest of the supplies. Money is very tight right now with me not working and no longer receiving unemployment, so I was a little stressed about buying all these ridiculous supplies they make you get now, but anything for my kids and I would find money later. Basket loaded up, my daughter and I waited in the long line with the other parents. When I was next, they opened an extra register that was behind me and called the next customer. As I went to go, the gentleman behind me went over there. I almost started to grumble about me being next, but I wasn’t in a hurry, so I let it go. He quickly realized what he did and sent me over to that cashier. I was confused when he came back over, thinking maybe he was in a hurry and wanted to go before me, but that isn’t even close to what he wanted. He wanted to know if he could pay for my purchases that day. I was shocked and thought about refusing this generous offer, but a part of me couldn’t help but realize this gift that was being handed to me. So, I graciously accepted after he assured me he had plenty of money and only wished that I paid it forward by doing something nice for someone else or donating to charity.
What surprised me the most is that he said most of the time he tried to do this, he was refused. This hit home for me as I have spent most of my life not really wanting to accept help even though I am more than willing to give it. He was gracious and honestly doing this just out of the goodness of his heart. He was blessed with having money and liked to do random acts of kindness.
This was a beautiful gift to me, not just because it relieved a little bit of a financial burden, but because it balanced my life out by allowing me to receive. So often we give so much in life and forget that we can receive as well. I have a lot of volunteer friends and it can be a stressful life in animal rescue. We get so caught up in what we are trying to give, we forget that is ok to receive. That we can accept help too.
The art of receiving kindness, help or even a compliment can be difficult for those who are so used to giving all their time and energy to others. But if you stop, take a breath and look around; you will find people willing to help you as well. Accept with gratitude, realizing that it is a gift the universe is trying to give you and who are you to deny the universe?