Most people consider themselves unworthy. They may not admit this to themselves. They may never say it out loud, or even know they feel this way. But when it comes to the opportunity to receive, they put up their hands, they turn away, they back out. Because for so long, we’ve only been taught what it’s like to take.
Doesn’t the Catholic mass, in preparation for breaking bread and joining in humanhood, say something to God like, “We are unworthy to receive you”?
Jesus never said that, you know. Ever.
It takes time, and patience, and endurance, to humble yourself enough to be able to receive love. It takes a cracking open. It takes many crackling openings.
And sometimes, unfortunately, people give us “gifts” that aren’t gifts at all. Sometimes, a person’s gift comes in a box that makes it seem like a gift, but is really an attempt to control. Sometimes, that “gift” is a way of telling you what to do, or it represents their way of thinking, or it is an attempt to manage your life. It is a gift that suggests they never listen to your words, or see who you are. Their gift is a selfish venture to convince themselves they know how to give, but the gift has an agenda, and any gift with an agenda is only propaganda.
So, let me tell you this. Your offering is what is your gift.
And when you give an offering, there is a vulnerability involved, because you don’t know how someone is going to receive it. You can only hope they let it enter in. You can only hope they don’t shrug it off, or shake their heads. You pray that they welcome it and let it live. It is not about you, and yet it is a piece of your heart.
Someone’s ability to hold your heart and theirs in the same breath? That is an exchange where the lines blur between “giver” and “receiver,” and there is only love.
And while I know all people are inherently worthy, when it comes to true love, not all people are ready. So you have to test things out sometimes. This is what God does for us, in our challenges. She rains a little something into our lives. Do we see it? Do we appreciate it? Do we take it for granted? Do we get scared and run away? That is how she knows our readiness.
Receiving a piece of someone’s heart and soul is humbling, and anyone who does not feel humbled when given a gift like that is used to taking part in mere transactions, and not exchange. They may not know what’s false from what’s true.
This does not mean you have to hold back on your love, however. It just means you get wise.
I have begun to record and share spoken-word stories for my friends.
These stories cost no money to make. They don’t come in a neat bow. But they are pieces of my heart, rising up through my voice, delivered to someone’s phone.
I know that to some people, doing such a thing would seem selfish, or narcissistic. There she is, talking about herself again. I don’t have time for that.
That’s fine. I don’t need to send. But love is something that wants to be shared, and grows so much more when dancing together.
Why would I only save that for a man?
And there is always time for love. There is always so much time.
Telling someone a story that comes from your depths, at the right time, in the right situation, is like being suspended in air for a while. It is an act of surrender. You do not know how it is going to go. But you take the leap that it will, that you will, be received. It’s a way to love another.
Because when a story is breathed into the air, and two or more hold it together, and we open our hands, and we place our feet in the dirt as it rises and lingers and seeps into our souls…. That’s when we know we have a friend.