On Sunday, I became a grandparent and I have barely stopped smiling since. Lucas James is a joy-bringer and a gift. As I hold him, I am filled with the deepest sense of awe and love.
I wonder if this is true of life, that as we nurture those around us, both the lovely and the unlovely of this world, we live with a greater sense of wellbeing. Just from my own observation, the most giving people I know are also the happiest people I know.
It’s true that to live, we need to exhale, to inhale. In the same way, we need to give, to receive. Not only is this a principle to live by, but it is a principle for life flow. It is oxygen.
In pouring out ourselves, we are not depleted, we are filled. In fact, my motive for giving is partly the purpose it creates within me, the energy and life it brings. I have found that a peaceful “inner” world (my mind, will and emotions) is greatly impacted by how I reach out into the “outer” world around me.
Since being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), Lenore and I have become actively involved in the MND community. We endeavour to offer words of comfort and care to those suffering and their loved ones. It has forced me to face my own feelings in order to bring life to others. And I wonder if, in turn, it has given me back life.
By helping others through their suffering and giving of ourselves, we receive the ability, that is beyond ourselves, to stand in the face of trial.
When we give to others, we are saying, “I have abundance, I have resource that is not based on scarcity.” For me, that abundance is the overflow of God’s love and care for me.
When we do not reach out and care, we start to believe we are bankrupt, we are saying “I give nothing because I have nothing.” The truth is we have nothing of real value or substance because we choose not to give.
Take gravity for instance. Even though it pushes against us, it is the very force that enables us to stand upright and walk on earth.
When in the face of the very thing that is pressing against us, we decide to reach out to others, our pain becomes the vehicle for God’s grace to reveal itself in and through us.
Today, I believe that your suffering and brokenness is an opportunity for God to reveal Himself. In the middle of your pain, you can find joy because of how it touches the hearts and lives of others. But only if we choose to give.
My senior pastors recently told me that the recorded footage of me telling my story of MND in Australia has been replayed to thousands in London and New York and has been encouraging many people.
All I could say was “thank you”. You see, it did as much for me as it did for others to know that my pain was not in vain, was not fruitless or pointless, but has been used to somehow help others.
Einstein said it this way, “only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile”. Jesus said, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.
Giving is oxygen. Remember to exhale.