Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Monday, January 22, 2018

Open Hearts

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we're never really giving with an open heart.
When we attach judgment to receiving help,
we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
                             Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Where does it come from,
This need to shame the poor?
This need to attach conditions to compassion
To acceptance,
Even to food, and housing, and healthcare?

Why would I not want my neighbor to have what he or she needs to survive?
Why would I not want their children to be healthy and happy?

Even my cat and my dog
Can be generous during “chicken time”
Sitting together, taking turns getting scraps
During the sandwich making hour

I think in part it is because they know they have enough
And there will always be enough
Enough chicken
Enough love
Enough pets

They both wallow in affection
The both get it, and therefor
They can both allow the other to receive it as well

So what is behind our unique human tendency
to be so grudging when it comes to giving?
Why do we put so many requirements on help?
Why do we create pre-requisites for compassion?

Is it because at some place deep down in our souls
We are afraid?
Afraid that we don’t have enough?  Won’t have enough?

Or is it because we ourselves have been taught that only the weak and flawed need help?
That people need who help are ‘less’, ‘unworthy’, “lazy moochers’?
Functionally no longer “people” but objects of scorn
And that we somehow deserve what we have, and “they” do not?

And how is it that some of those least capable of giving
are those with the most power, the most wealth, the most privilege?
And are those entrust with the care of a nation, or care of souls?

We are a curious lot
We humans

I suspect that this is an inconvenient truth
If we don’t know how to receive, we don’t know how to give
And the one who has never felt the need to receive
Perhaps, because of privilege and affluence has never felt need,
May simply be damaged, paradoxically by privilege
When it comes to generosity

And the one who has been told they have to earn love
By parents who gave merit based affection
Or by a church that put conditions on God’s love
Simply cannot get their heads and hearts around grace.

No wonder we are such a mess
Since it may true
That we have entrusted the functional delivery of compassion and justice
To those very people least qualified to offer it?


Lord, help us learn of our need to receive
Help us to learn how to receive
Help us to open our hearts to gifts offered

That we might eventually
Also give

With an open heart

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