Giving Gets You Good

I bought a bed awhile back. Well, I had a mattress so a structure.

I bought a structure that one places a mattress on and has posts, and even is slightly raised from the ground.

Last year, when my dog Billie was sick, she no longer could jump up onto the bed. So I got rid of it and put the mattress on the floor.

After she died. I never bought a bed. Not sure why. Maybe I was waiting to hear her run around the corner and launch herself onto my mattress loudly and uncoordinated, slide into her corner, lie down and look that “what? that how I do it, yo” look. Or maybe getting a bed just made me sad.

The other day, on my knees looking under the bed for my cat — who decided that the best prank was peeing under this new and wondrous structure when I slept — I placed my elbows on the mattress, clasped my hands and placed my forehead gingerly on my knuckles, and started to pray.

Well, not really pray, more think about praying.

As a Jewish kid growing up in a hippie household, religion was really not a thing (except when I asked why the tip of my penis didn’t have its own special home to live in). I had friends who prayed, and when I stayed at their house, I would kneel next to them and close my eyes.

I’d mostly think about how stupid it was that my level 14 cleric was killed by a stupid Magic Missile. Clearly, my teammates didn’t understand the importance of making sure the one person who could heal them didn’t die.

But enough about my penis and D&D. After all, that’s about all I talk about.

As I kneeled there, with my elbows on the mattress, I decided maybe I’d give that old prayer thing a shot. There were many things that I wanted, and I guessed that’s what people pray for, right? What they want…

But I couldn’t. I couldn’t ask for anything. I spent nearly twenty minutes thinking about all the things in the world that if I had them I would be so much happier. But the majority of those twenty minutes was dead air.

While my bipolar has been making me sad; while the elections have been making me said; while the inhumanity of gun violence and discrimination and, well, shitty shit in the world was making me sad, what wasn’t making me sad, was the lack of things.

What was making me sad was the lack of give.

The reason we don’t give as much as we could is because we have been taught that giving requires us to lose something. That giving is about getting: a good feeling or a promise of a future IOU. We don’t give because it’s transactional, and all transactions are work and require an exchange.

I wish that wasn’t true. I really do. I wish that giving without expectation was the expectation rather than the exception.

I have no real money to give. I have barely any time to give. I have no passions around things I wish I had passion around (homelessness, education, immigration, drug abuse, etc.). I don’t even have a personal history that drives my desires.

My giving will have to be non-discretionary and fully integrated into my being. My giving will have to be what it should be.


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