There is just something about the process of giving that brings me joy. I love to give things away. If it wasnt for my wife and business partner, Debra, I would hand things over without a thought. But, as she says, I have to make a living and that is just a fact of life.
Ive always felt like the God-given talents Ive been given were gifts to me and, therefore, it is my duty to share them with others. I can honestly say I have always tried to do that. No, Im not boasting and am far from perfect, but I do try every day to keep my intentions good.
I learned about the process of giving at a very young age. I was taught by example. When you grow up in a family where your mother and daddy are givers, its hard for the wonderful trait of sharing not to rub off.
My parents were always doing something for others. Even if I didnt know this firsthand, the fact they have both been gone for many years and I still, to this day, have people come up to me and tell me stories of their kindness, is a tribute to them. I was blessed to have had them as parents and continue to receive blessings every day because of them. It is said that a gift from the heart just keeps on giving. My parents gifts still resonating with people certainly proves that.
I was wrapping a present the other day and found myself overcome with joy. Im not the best person at keeping secrets, so I can hardly wait for people to open my gifts. As I was folding the gift wrap to cover the box making sure to have crisp corners, I was hearing a version of Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah in my head.
No matter what it is youre giving, just by the mere act of giving, you receive. It doesnt matter if its a kind deed, an encouraging word or a million dollars, the process of giving is always the same. It is guaranteed to make you feel better.
I think thats one of the reasons I love Christmas so much. This season entices the giver in all of us to come to the surface. This special time of year causes us to pause and remember those people in our lives who are important to us -- to show them we care. Sometimes our acts of giving can even involve people we have never met. Thats part of the magic of Christmas.
Something happened recently that reaffirmed how the process of giving goes hand in hand with the circle of goodness. The two forces work closely together like a tag team and, where you find one, youll usually find the other. All we have to do is open our hearts to give, and the circle of goodness takes over from there. If we put good energy out, then good energy comes back to us.
A few weeks ago, I wrote in this column about the beautiful Christopher Radko ornaments my wife and I have collected over the past 30 years. In it, I shared the story of a lady who unselfishly passed her collection of ornaments on to me after hearing me speak at a public fundraiser.
I know the column spoke to many of you because I personally heard from you. But then something unexpected happened! Something neither the sweet lady nor I would have ever dreamed could.
I was always taught to be cautious of what you say or write because you never know who might hear it or read it. The same Sunday my column appeared in The Telegraph and on macon.com, I received an e-mail thanking me for writing it. It wasnt just a regular e-mail. It was an e-mail from Christopher Radko, the creator of the Christmas ornaments himself. Somehow, he had come across my article on the Internet, read it and then wrote to thank me for writing it and, by doing so, continuing to spread joy. So what started off as a kind lady giving me her Christopher Radko ornaments came full circle by me hearing from the man himself.
To keep the circle of goodness going, I shared the e-mail from Mr. Radko with the lady who had so generously given her ornaments to me. Of course, after reading the e-mail, her day was made. She was touched and wrote a very sweet e-mail back to me. I forwarded it to Mr. Radko who then addressed the lady by name in another e-mail.
Because of those ornaments, three people had been united in a joyous way. You just never know what can happen when you start the wheels of giving turning. One act of kindness just leads to another and another.
This is the perfect holiday to practice the magic of giving. In a few days, there will be rooms full of people who are surrounded by gift wrap that is shredded, torn and wadded up in piles next to discarded ribbons and bows. Boxes will be stacked around and smiles will be more common than frowns. The wheels of giving always turn very smoothly on Christmas Day because its easy to give to your friends and loved ones.
Its a bit harder to reach out to those who are less fortunate. They are the ones who desperately need to receive some kind of gift -- and not just at the holidays. Maybe its simply sharing a smile, a laugh, a card, a visit or encouragement. It doesnt have to be much!
That is one thing I learned from my parents many years ago: Gifts dont have to be wrapped in fancy paper with dazzling bows or cost a lot to make a difference. Whatever you give, big or small, when it comes from your heart, great things will happen. Merry Christmas!
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