When Giving is All We Have by Alberto Rios
One river gives
Its journey to the next
We give because someone gave to us.
We give because nobody gave to us.
We give because giving has changed us.
We give because giving could have changed us.
We have been better for it,
We have been wounded by it—
Giving has many faces: It is loud and quiet,
Big, though small, diamond in wood-nails.
Its story is old, the plot worn and the pages too,
But we read this book, anyway, over and again:
Giving is, first and every time, hand to hand,
Mine to yours, yours to mine.
You gave me blue and I gave you yellow.
Together we are simple green. You gave me
What you did not have, and I gave you
What I had to give—together, we made
Something greater from the difference.
Note 1:) Thanks to Janice for originally introducing me to this poem. It seems just right for the giving season.
Note 2:) Last Sunday, my small Ottawa family had our 4th annual book exchange. A gentle evening where we exchange books and sit by the fire for a couple of hours and read together. Also, with our favourite chocolates close at hand and a special beverage. It is our adaptation of the Icelandic tradition of jólabókaflóð . We love it.
Note 3:) My favourite tree. This was taken several years ago in Quebec City. The banner photo and the red berries are thanks to Rob.
Note 4:) Everyone is busy now. May you enjoy these days, with good food and loved ones, however you choose to spend them. May you travel safely. A deep bow to you all and an armload of joy-filled moments.
Note 5:) The final word is for those going through heart-wrenching times. Please take time to care for yourself and reach out for help when you need to do so. Here is a special poem that speaks to me. I hope it is helpful to you.
Adrift by Mark Nepo
Everything is beautiful and I am so sad.
This is how the heart makes a duet of
wonder and grief. The light spraying
through the lace of the fern is as delicate
as the fibers of memory forming their web
around the knot in my throat. The breeze
makes the birds move from branch to branch
as this ache makes me look for those I’ve lost
in the next room, in the next song, in the laugh
of the next stranger. In the very center, under
it all, what we have that no one can take
away and all that we’ve lost face each other.
It is there that I’m adrift, feeling punctured
by a holiness that exists inside everything.
I am so sad and everything is beautiful.