Have you ever given a gift, only to have it refused? There’s that horrible iron-door-slamming-shut-between-you feeling, the kind that makes you back away. Offering a gift is an invitation. You say to someone, “Will you accept this love I’d like to share?” When the person refuses, it’s not only the gift that’s shoved aside, but you.
And yet, accepting gifts isn’t always easy. Why?
Offering a gift is a vulnerable act. And accepting a gift may be even more vulnerable.
When you offer a gift, you’ve had time to think, prepare and plan. When you accept a gift, particularly a meaningful one, you often face the element of surprise. Unexpected emotions can leap up and catch you off guard. In most cases, to accept a gift you must acknowledge the fact that you can’t do everything on your own. All of these things … the emotions, the sharp pain of vulnerability, the questions, the fears … rise up like a tsunami wave as the gift is held out in open hands. The question is: Will you say yes?
I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts this week. I want to be the courageous kind of person who can accept gifts with open arms. Too often, I struggle.
We’re raising funds right now to support the work of Society of Young Inklings, and specifically for our new partnership with Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. As part of this campaign, we’re putting on a show and silent auction benefit on Friday. Our goal is to extend our reach and, as in all of our programs, to offer young writers support as they discover their unique voices. Through this fundraising process, I’ve been given a stream of extraordinary gifts.
- Our instructional staff has given the gift of their time. They’ve volunteered to collaborate on the script and spent hours rehearsing. Team members have offered leadership: directing the show, shaping and revising the script, costume and prop design, and much more.
- Our board has offered gifts of financial support and spread the word about our campaign and event near and far.
- Our development team has expertly helped me more clearly see the tangible impact of our work and also uncovered ways to continue to assess, refine and grow our programs.
- Our community has stepped up to provide donations for our silent auction and financial gifts in support of our work.
These gifts, overwhelming as they are, are only a small part of the flood of support we’ve experienced at Society of Young Inklings. And then, beyond SYI, daily gifts of support have been showing up in all corners of my life.
- In pour-over coffee hand-delivered to me at my desk by my husband while I’m struggling to meet a writing deadline.
- In friends spreading the word about the release of the Glimmer Girls books, a series of fiction on which I collaborated with singer, Natalie Grant.
- In friends reaching out to tell me they’re thinking about me.
- In the just-right book showing up at the just-right time.
And so much more.
Anyone who knows me very well knows that I’ve been working hard for quite some time now, reaching for a very big dream. And now, having so much support show up as I’m taking final steps toward a peak on the journey … it feels like a crowd of my friends and loved ones and colleagues have gathered on the sides of the path to cheer me on. To tell me they know I can make it to the end of this climb, even if I’m wondering about that, myself.
Honestly, these gifts take my breath away. Each time one is offered, I struggle to accept it.
But I’m practicing throwing my arms wide. I’m practicing saying … shouting … yes! I’m learning that gifts fill us with energy we didn’t think we had, an overflowing kind of energy that makes us ready to turn around and pass on gifts elsewhere. Gifts rejuvenate us and create momentum. Someone gives to us and that gift multiplies inside us. Now, we have the power to reciprocate and also to give with wider reach. On and on, the gifts ripple, growing in strength and possibility … because we said yes.
Many of you reading this post are part of that cheering crowd of supporters. To you, I want to say … I need to say … thank you. Your gifts mean more to me than I am able to put into words. Your gifts are making an impact far beyond what any of us can see today.
And so, what about you? What gift can you say yes to today? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. Or, you can give me the gift of discussing this further with me on Twitter or on Facebook. I will gladly accept.
With much love and gratitude.