It is interesting to me that much of life is controlled by things we cannot see or touch. Love, fear, kindness, loss, pride, time are all deeply felt. No matter how desperate you are to keep the feelings that bring you joy and security, you cannot scoop them up tightly in your arms and hold them. You cannot bag up the negative, hurtful feelings and put them out by the curb to be carried off to the landfill. We say we spend time, make time, waste time, but in truth, we are all given time. We don't know how much time, no one does, we expect that each day will provide us with 24 hours. Twenty-four hours to spend, each day, it is up to us how we will spend it.
Studies show that people that perform five acts of giving over six weeks are happier than those that don't. Research now supports the theory that giving is a powerful pathway to finding purpose, transcending difficulties, and finding fulfillment and meaning in life. In a recent experiment, scientists used an fMRI to assess the part of the brain that is engaged when a person gives. The results show that generosity activates the part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex; as well as the subgenual area, the part that engages when humans see babies and romantic partners. ['The Giving Way to Happiness' (US, 2015): Book Excerpt ]
I don't need science to prove that I am hardwired to give. After all, God created us in his image, and he is the ultimate giver. He gave his son, and every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father. Furthermore, studies show that more benefit is derived when the giver has a connection with the recipient. The reason for God's sacrifice was to create relationship with us. Martin Luther wrote, "as our heavenly Father has in Christ freely come to our aid, we also ought freely to help our neighbor, and each one should become a Christ to the other.
We all only have so much time here to make an impact; why does it seem the hands of the clock bind us? That this constant ticking is more of a boundary and less of a calling. The only way to break time's hold on me is to open my own hands. There is time for a pot of coffee, to listen to that forgotten person pour out their heart. There is time to volunteer and for long walks, to give a smile to a stranger, to find someone that is in need and meet that need. Ann Voskamp writes in her book Be the Gift, "the way to find the light in the dark is to make your hand reach out-reach out in thanks, reach out in giving. And maybe your hand has to reach out, so your heart keeps beating-so someone else keeps breathing" (21).
In my next few blog entries, I plan to write about what has helped us during these past 5 years of our journey with Madi being sick and the last 10 months since she passed. We have been blessed with people that have assiduously supported us and have made a difference in our journey.
Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Luke 6:38 MSG