The First Question You Should Ask
Christopher D. Connors

Reading this was a nice, helpful reinforcement for me. Thanks. I had an interesting experience several months ago, which my mind keeps drifting back to, re-examining it, turning it over again. My neighbor is a retired doctor who’s fit, but even so he needed a hand with a woodchopping job. I’m also retired, and kind of weirdly fascinated with a return to very manual labor after a long career behind a desk. We all have large yards with lots of trees up here, and for most people that just means “very pretty”, but for us who live in it, yeah, very pretty, but also a lot of work. Anyway, the point is, I like my neighbor and was happy to help him when he asked if I could spare an hour. We don’t know each other all that well, so I don’t think he knew how to deal with me just helping, and not wanting anything in return — I could see it was a bit uncomfortable for him. I reassured him that I was glad to help. If I’d already known your favorite quote above, “I give without expecting anything in return”, maybe it’d have been easier for me to explain to him how it made me feel good. It bothers me that our lives have been so distorted by “transactional living” that we see each other mostly as commodities or means to an end.

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