When Giving is All We Have by Alberto Rios

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.

When Giving is All We Have


Note 1:) Thanks to Janice for introducing me to this poem. It seems just right for the giving season.

Note 2:) Last Sunday, my small Ottawa family had our 2nd annual book exchange. A gentle evening where we exchange books we bought for each other (by previously drawing names) and sit by the fire for a couple of hours and read together, with our favourite chocolates close at hand. Oh yes, also, a glass of wine and a hot chocolate for the children. It is our adaptation of the Icelandic tradition of jólabókaflóð . We love it.

Note 3:) This favourite Christmas tree is outdoors, in a courtyard, in old Quebec city. I took this photo, a few years ago when my book club held our December meeting there. It was a huge success and something to look forward to again. We can create amazing memories close to home. 

Note 4:) With so much thanks for your kind words and continuing to show up here and read this blog. I am so lucky. A deep bow to you all. Please do your best  to stay safe. Warmest wishes, Trudy

Note 5:) The final word is always 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.



6 replies
  1. janice
    janice says:

    Thank you for passing on these poems Trudy, beautiful words to express the season. Love your family book tradition, glad you reminded me of this. All blessings to you dear friend. love Jan

  2. Purdy Mackenzie
    Purdy Mackenzie says:

    Dear Trudy, a simple thank you seems so inadequate, but alas, sometimes it is enough. Every Christmas is different and this one will be as well. Sending wishes for comfort and peace. P.

  3. Jean
    Jean says:

    Just read this,this morning.inspiring and usual.my heart is always sad at this time because of things I cannot change but you manage to perk up my joyful side each week.thank you.


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