The big day is over. The gifts are unwrapped. The cheeseball has been delivered. The children are sleeping.
Even though I did not technically work on one of my “receptive” words each and every day during the Advent season, they were sinking into my soul throughout this month. I feel the need to reflect on this notion of receiving. There is just something speaking to me about the ability to dwell in receptivity in at least equal parts to action.
Like the day I went to the post office with a pile of big boxes. And attempted to open the door by myself, despite the quickened steps of two strangers, rushing to help me. What makes me think “I MUST do this myself!”?
Or the day the girls and I packed up baggies of our home-baked cookies to hand out to folks standing on the corners. (You know, the ones with the signs that leave Good Girl feeling either put out or guilty depending on the day. The REAL me is starting to get it….those folks ARE me. Someday, I could be holding up a sign for help, either literally or figuratively.) I pulled up to deliver our first baggie and felt terrified that the man would say something along the lines of “Geez, lady, what do I need with your cookies! What I really need is (fill in the blank)!” He didn’t say that. He said thank you. And I think he meant it. My fear made me wonder….am I afraid my gifts won’t be received?
Or reading about all the Random Acts of Kindness folks all over this country are doing, in honor of 20 sweet little children. I wondered. . . don’t these acts also need recipients? We need a country full of good receivers too, don’t we? For the energy of those sweet little souls to really translate, each act or gift must also be received. All the better if it is warmly received.
Or how about the box of clothing that arrived for my children from a dear friend across many miles? Clothes that are like new. Clothes that we need. Normally, Good Girl gets uncomfortable with this and must find a way to “reciprocate” immediately. Not this time. I soaked it all in. I basked in the feeling of being on the receiving end of someone’s generosity, help, love. I just swam in gratitude for a while. I let my heart and body fill with appreciation for what was truly an amazing gift. Coats and shoes, swimsuits and leggings. My littles tried new things on and paraded around in glee. And I just soaked it all up! Then I sent my dear long-time friend an email, filled with my heart-felt thanks. For her to feel the joy of giving, I must be a willing receiver.
What about Grandma, so eager to help out around the house on Christmas day? Offering to peel potatoes, do some dishes, give the girls their bath? Why do E and I feel the need to play host first? We are family. It was so lovely to say YES and put my feet up for a few minutes, listening to the sound of girls in the tub, showing Grandma their bath-time antics. And E said himself, there was something about the three of us cooking in the kitchen that really revved up the Christmas spirit.
I don’t have all the answers. But I think I can say for sure that there is power in receiving. And my world has been much richer, warmer and full of love for having embarked on this path.