A Season of Two Gifts

And thus it begins again. This season that is filled with feelings of anticipation, excitement and expectations. Oh, and let me not forget to mention those additional feelings of anxiety, and yes, even dread for some. We are under pressure to give. Not that we don’t want to. You know, give. But still, with dates and deadlines staring us in the face like long hanging mistletoe from the ceiling, we feel pressure.

Really though, all year long we may have found it necessary, or we want to share, to give and we do just that. Even when we are not at our best. Like when we are suffering with ultra-fatigue, or in the midst of an exacerbation, or even while experiencing a bout of depression. We may give what we can to others through a listening ear, advice, or sharing a warm voice of comfort to another waning spirit. As we’ve pressed on with our lives this entire year, we perhaps were unable to do all we would have liked to do for people. Still, we did what we are able to do. It really does make us feel good to do something for someone else.

Yet there is some receiving to be had as well, if you are fortunate enough to have such people in your life or who enter your life, if even just briefly passing through. As we experience living with MS there are instances, at times routinely, that we are offered help. It may be at home with relatives assisting with chores or running errands. Even while out and about at a grocery store or retail outlet, a kind gesture of opening a door or reaching to get an item for us is done by a stranger. We may not need or want the help. I myself at times feel my vigor and really don’t need or want any assistance, I just plain want to do the task all on my own. I feel the need to prove to myself I can do it, despite my physical challenges. Yet, in other cases although capable, I know that not expending that bit of energy may enable me to have a tad more reserved for later to do another needed or wanted activity.

What exactly is the motivation for the help? Some may believe or perceive it is offered out of pity. Instead, perhaps the helper foresees a difficulty or even a potential danger because of what they surmise is a physical limitation. Or, they may understand more than we think they do and are extending a kindness for kindness sake. That’s all okay with me. My rule is that if I must assume, then assume the positive.

It seems especially that during this time of year, people yearn to believe that the human race and this old world still have kindness and goodness within. Most want to give and share in, as well as be recipients of actions that involve the best of humanity. We desire our children to witness kindness and graciousness of others and of ourselves as they watch us in our daily lives.

It is not a sign of weakness to allow and accept help from a stranger, friend or family member. Both giving and receiving are linked to giving consideration to others circumstances, thoughts and feelings. In my life, MS continually challenges me to find a balance between pride and humility.

So this season and throughout all of my seasons, I will remember to be thankful for all of the occasions that I find myself having the opportunity to both receive and give, all at the same time.

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