He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose, so said Jim Elliot. Jim was an evangelical missionary who payed the ultimate price for his faith in 1956 in Ecuador http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Elliot. This is a motto that I heard first in song, sung by Phil Keaggy if I remember correctly. The premise of this quote was that we have to give up control of our life to gain life. Now I don’t want to explore this quote in particular but I am looking at the theme of giving, especially in the context of relationships today
After my last post https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/something-in-my-life-i-dont-want-to-live-without/ I realised a few things, once again the curse of the thinking man but a timely reminder of another mantra of mine, that is don’t ask a question that you do not want to hear the answer to and don’t muse on sensitive subjects if you don’t want a reminder of the importance of that subject. In my case touch has been on my mind a lot since I wrote! Almost going through withdrawal as I realise that right at the moment that I seek is very elusive to find if I want to keep my integrity and I do. I wrote about being sick of being a good man https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/if-someone-tells-me-i-am-a-good-man-one-more-time/ as I struggled with my own personal needs over my responsibilities, obligations and above all else my call in life. My daughter wrote a beautiful piece for me on fathers day https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=501839586571334&set=a.271346532953975.66149.100002358900081&type=1 . She spoke of my generous heart. Now whilst I was privileged to have lovely things said about me in a very public forum what I want to do is have a look at the whole concept of giving. The point is that you cannot give what you do not have. Whilst this makes a lot of sense when we are talking about tangible things, when we talk of other forms of gifts then a different approach is called for.
In my journey of weight loss I have outlined a healthy mind healthy body approach to it. I say this as a reminder and to emphasise that we cannot give what we do not have https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/healthy-mind-healthy-body/ .
What are the things that we have to have before we can give them away. Love ,empathy, sympathy, understanding, intimacy, acceptance, commitment. These are a few that immediately come to mind. You see how can you love somebody if you do not love yourself? I am not talking about a narcissistic kind of exclusionary love nor I am talking about parental love in this instance. Although to truly love your children you certainly need to have some notion of what that means, otherwise what you are giving is some shallow representation. The word love is bandied about often n society and is very easy to say. Once said it is hard to retreat from. True love is never conditional. Love can of course be lost by hurtful and destroying actions that destroy any basis for love. Trust is of course is a pre-requisite for love that occurs outside of family, sometimes unfortunately it can also be a pre-requisite for love within families especially when significant breaches of trust have occurred.
Empathy is another kettle of fish. To be able to identify and understand someone else’s situation is a wonderful thing but if you do not understand or are able to identify what you are thinking or feeling then you cannot empathise with what others are feeling. You do not necessarily have to have gone through the same things as what the other person is, but you need to be able to understand for sure. Patience is very important also when you are trying to be empathetic . So empathy, true empathy is very hard to develop and show without emotional literacy, which comes from self awareness and a healthy mind.
I will have a look at these other things in another blog as I get back to where I began and that is intimacy. As I have said true intimacy goes far beyond sex. I do not believe that someone can be truly intimate when they are hampered by issues in any of the areas that I outlined .If you are looking for someone, that special person to share your life with, and they are inadequate in the areas of sympathy, empathy, acceptance and commitment then in all probably it is a fruitless exercise unless of course you are happy with a mediocre relationship based on purely physical attraction. This is not to say that there are times in our lives that comfort comes from lying in the arms of a lover and provided that both parties are explicit in their desires and the likely outcome then it is not mine to judge. But a relationship that is solely based on the physical is unlikely to go the distance long term and that can be devastating to one or both parties in that relationship.
So in order to give one needs to have those things that they wish to give already evident in their lives, and if true intimacy is what you seek then you need to look early on at the person you are dating or considering, if they exhibit those key qualities in their relationships with others then it is likely that they will exhibit it in any relationship with you
If you truly find some one who has learnt to give away the things that they cannot keep to gain something unlosable then blessed you are.
Live laugh and love, with passion and purpose,