Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights, is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life deserves to fill his cup from your little stream. And what desert greater shall there be, than that which lies in the courage and the confidence, nay the charity, of receiving? And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed? See first that you yourself deserve to be a giver, and an instrument of giving.
For in truth it is life that gives unto life while you, who deem yourself a giver, are but a witness.- Kahil Gibran- The Prophet
Recently I responded to a post on facebook. The poster was a woman who was becoming a single mom and moving into a rental home. She explained that she hoped to be able to get on her feet, and that she had nothing other than beds for each of her three children. She needed kitchen items and furnishings for the rest of her house. I learned quickly that there are two responses to a post like this woman's. There are people who respond with offers of whatever they have. This group will inevitably be warned by the second group of responders who are wary of such cries for help. They ask questions like: what if it's a hoax? What if other people see this woman's needs being met and ask for help too? Both responses are honest reflections of our experiences. Some have given. Some have received. Some have felt taken for granted.
I can't imagine a hoax in which a person admits they have "nothing" and need everything. Pride would keep many of us quiet in her situation. This woman was asking for people's castoffs, not for money to buy new furniture.
As Gibran advises in the passage above, we are given nothing and earn nothing in this life that is truly "ours". Some of us are given more time than others and are reluctant to share it. Some are given more money and hold it tight for fear of a rainy day. The needs of others can feel overwhelming, and we might wonder if the little we give makes a difference. It does.
The responses to this woman's post are 23 and counting. She has been offered couches, tables, a bed for herself, a TV, toys for her children, bedding, and kitchen goods. One woman even took pictures of the items she was offering so that the woman looking for help could choose the things she wanted. I had to stop and cry when I read that one. Imagine the joy of not just inheriting what others no longer wanted, but choosing things she liked? What a beautiful ocean of people out there! A complete stranger. A family in need. One seeking to fill her cup from "our" little stream. One day, one woman, one story. Many witnesses. Much gratitude.