To Give is Human; To Receive, Divine

Many of you have heard Alexander Pope’s famous quote, “To err is human; to forgive, divine”

This is a true and lovely sentiment AND today I am using it as a springboard for thinking about the below quote from John Steinbeck that I recently included as my “Wow, That’s a Thought.”

It said,

“It is so easy to give, so exquisitely rewarding. Receiving, on the other hand, if it be well done, requires a fine balance of self-knowledge and kindness. It requires… self-esteem to receive—a pleasant acquaintance and liking for oneself.”

Judging by the amount of people who wrote me after reading the quote, I am not alone in my unease around receiving.

Why am I writing about this today?

Because for the past week I have been in the position of receiving one of the most precious gifts of all—time—from my husband, who has been holding the fort at home while I have been practicing in Miami with my teacher.

And it’s been hard.

Not because my husband has made it hard. (His response whenever I want to do anything is always, “Go! Do! Be! I support you.”) but because, as Mr. Steinbeck noted, it takes a lot of liking for oneself to receive…..and that isn’t always easy to come by.

But when I—and you—receive gracefully as well as gratefully, it is a kindness to the person who has been kind enough to give.


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