Thursday, February 26, 2015

Emerson on gifts

Had a wonderful lunch today with our aunt and some of her relatives on the other side.  Great conversation.  Great stories.  And an amazing discussion on gifts.  When I was in college taking the clep Freshman English test, we had to write an essay to get out of regular English, and the basis for the essay was Emerson's treatise on gifts.  Now, that was just a few years ago, but I still remember the impact of that essay.  In essence, Emerson maintains that giving a gift is not a precedent for receiving a gift.  One does not give in the hope of getting.  One gives for several reasons.  Magnanimity.  Need.  Pleasure.  But the joy is in the giving!  All too often, people will receive a mitzvah (I have no idea whether that is spelled correctly, but I'll give it a try) and immediately wonder what to do in return.  Emerson says, say thank you.  Relish in the good deed or gift, and allow the giver the joy of giving!  Today, Chad, a young man much wiser than his years, was one of the diners.  We were discussing this very thing and he elucidated my point eloquently.  He and a friend were out together and his friend gave him a gift.  Quite to point, Chad thanked him.  The next time they were out to eat, Chad was going to pick up the check.  The young guest asked why, and Chad's reply was because of the gift he had received earlier.  The gentleman then responded, "That's not necessary.  Please don't step on my blessing."  Truly, it is better to give than to receive, for both are blessed.  The next time you are the giftee, instead of wondering what to do in return, allow the giver the joy of the event.  Thank them.  And then, to mix messages completely, pay it forward.  Do something nice to the next person you meet.  Blessings!  And love from me!

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