Monday, December 22, 2014

What Matters in Giving is What the Receiver Feels

Today our guest post is from President Henry B. Eyring, only he doesn't know it.  :)  But, I'm sure that he'd be happy to have us share as this is truth and is a precious memory from his own life.

I read this talk several years back and it changed my life.  His statement "what matters in giving is what the receiver feels' caused me a great deal of pondering.  I'd been the recipient of many gifts over the years and always tried to be a gracious receiver, but, sometimes, they were things I didn't need, couldn't use or honestly didn't have room for, but, I was grateful for the kindness and thoughtfulness of the giver who usually intended well and I always tried to express gratitude for their thoughtfulness.

But, during some of those times I truly was in-need of things; basic items of necessity.  And, I wondered why people didn't see what was needed or even ask what was needed (I was single parent of three who often went without basic things that they truly were in need of.)

Anyway, this talk inspired me to try to do better for others', to watch for or ask what could be of use to them.

I'm a big believer that many people have way too much stuff and some people don't have enough.  How can we do better, all of us, to make it so that have-nots can have and those who have so much that they don't know what to do with it - can be blessed in the giving?  Law of Consecration

Anyway, here is the story of a true gift and how it blessed Henry and his family.  It's worth the read and the pondering.

In his own words:
I’ve always had a daydream of being a great gift-giver. I can picture someone opening my gift with tears of joy and a smile, showing that the giving, not just the gift, had touched a heart. Others must have that dream, too, and many are likely already experts in gift-giving. But even the experts may share some of my curiosity about what makes a gift great.

I’ve been surrounded by expert gift-givers all my life. None of them has ever told me how to do it, but I’ve been watching and I’ve been building a theory. My theory comes from thinking about many gifts and many holidays, but one day and one gift can illustrate it.

The day was not Christmas, or even close to it. It was a summer day. My mother died in the early afternoon. My father, my brother, and I had gone from the hospital to our family home, just the three of us. Friends and family came to the house, and went. In a lull, we fixed ourselves a snack; then we visited with more callers. It grew late, dusk fell, and I remember we still had not turned on the lights.
Dad answered the doorbell. It was Aunt Catherine and Uncle Bill. When they’d walked just a few feet past the vestibule, Uncle Bill extended his hand and I could see that he was holding a bottle of cherries. I can still see the deep-red, almost purple, cherries and the shiny gold cap on the jar. He said, “You might enjoy these. You probably haven’t had dessert.”

We hadn’t. The three of us sat around the kitchen table, and put some cherries in bowls, and ate them as Uncle Bill and Aunt Catherine cleared some dishes. Uncle Bill asked, “Are there people you haven’t had time to call? Just give me some names and I’ll do it.” We mentioned a few relatives who would want to know of mother’s death. And then Aunt Catherine and Uncle Bill were gone. They could not have been with us more than twenty minutes.

Now, we can understand my theory best if we focus on one gift: the bottle of cherries. And let’s explain our theory from the point of view of the person who received the gift: me. That’s crucial, because what matters in giving is what the receiver feels.