I carefully scanned the entire box of crayons, stopping to visit with each and every color. Some colors appealed to me; others did not. There was no doubt about the ones I loved. They were used down to the nub because I used them every time I colored. The other crayons were still sharp and fresh with their paper intact.
In grade school, anytime anyone wanted me to share a color crayon with them, I offered the colors I disliked freely while tightly holding on to the ones I loved. For some reason, every time someone asked to borrow a crayon, you could bet it would be one of my favorite colors.
I was taught from a very early age about giving and sharing. Its just the way I was raised. I remember coming home from school one day, getting my box of crayons and a piece of paper out of my book bag only to realize a classmate had borrowed my favorite color crayon and had not returned it. I was furious! I turned my book bag inside out frantically trying to locate the color. When my search and rescue mission yielded no crayon, I ran to my mother and told her what had happened.
Mark, Im so sorry your favorite color crayon is missing. Are you sure it was the color you shared? Mother asked in her usual caring tone.
Yes maam, I am! I was trying to be nice and share and then this happened, I replied.
Its OK, Mother continued. You did the right thing by sharing and maybe that person needed that particular color more than you.
Its easy to give or share something we dont hold precious. The real test is in giving or sharing something that we do. Heres a good example. I love sweets. My love affair with sweets started when I was very young and continues today. Thats the main reason I exercise so much.
Growing up, anytime we would have a decorated birthday cake, my eyes would glaze over and my mouth would begin to water. I would become almost hypnotized. Actually, that same thing happened to me the other day!
I inherited my love of sweets from Mother. My daddy could take or leave them.
So, during the minutes leading up to the cake cutting, I had already eyed the corner piece because it had the most icing and made absolutely sure it included a big rose made out of icing as well. If I was fortunate enough to also snag a rose bud, I was elated!
I want that piece! I yelled out to the person cutting the cake. Only then was I happy.
Daddy always opted for a piece of cake cut from the middle with only a thin layer of icing covering it. If he should happen upon a rose or any extra icing, I would follow him around with my eyes fixed on his extra icing.
Can I have that icing you just scraped off your cake, Daddy? I would politely ask. Sure, just get it! A few minutes later I was in sugar heaven.
It was easy for Daddy to share his icing because he cared nothing about it, but I would have to really love and adore you to share anything sweet from my plate. You can have a bite of my collards, potatoes, string beans or broccoli, but stay away from my dessert. Otherwise, you might get hurt.
Another thing I adore is pecans. I will eat them plain, toasted or candied. There is barely a recipe I use that doesnt include them in some form or another. Last pecan season, a dear friend of mine gave me several bags of beautiful pecans already shelled and ready to use.
In my mind, she may as well have been giving me pure gold. I was shaking as I took the bag. I carefully divided the nuts into separate bags and immediately placed them in the freezer to use at a later date.
A few months ago, another dear friend mentioned that she was getting low on her pecan stock. I knew I had some extra pecans frozen and, over the years, this friend had always shared with me. Remembering the lessons about sharing I was taught at an early age, I offered my friend some of my frozen pecans. Ill confess: It was hard!
As I handed them to her, I whispered in her ear, You know I adore you or I wouldnt be sharing my pecans. We both laughed.
I knew a lady once who refused to share a recipe with me that I had enjoyed at one of her parties. I dont share that recipe with anyone, she said. I didnt know quite what to say and stood there with my mouth wide open.
On the way home, I thought how selfish that was of her not to share. My next thought was what my mother would have said but I really already knew. Mother would have said that the recipe must have been precious to her.
There are people who could write a check for hundreds of dollars and never miss it, but who dont. Others gladly give up something very precious to them to help a person in need. Thats just the way life is. You dont have to be rich to share. Ive found that even what we consider to be the tiniest of things can make a huge difference in someone elses life.
Ive always looked at my talents as God-given gifts and have done my very best to share them with as many people as possible. Thats how I was taught and have tried to pass on.
The other day our son, Blake, told us how he helped a homeless man living in a tent on some property behind his office. The man wanted to wash cars and earn his money instead of getting a hand-out. Blake printed some flyers and helped him get started. I beamed with pride as Blake recounted his story. Thats sharing in action, I thought.
What it boils down to is sometimes all we need is a little help -- a little encouragement to go a little further. Other times, it may be as simple as a color crayon or a rose made from icing.
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