I am a big fan of the Saint Francis of Assisi prayer. Thirteen of its fourteen lines resonate deeply within me.
I’ve been mulling over this one: “for it is in giving that we receive.” Happiness research makes clear that giving is, indeed, one of the most vital elements of happiness. I am all for it. Big time.
But how can there be giving without receiving? Are the receivers to be only those in need — economic, emotional, or otherwise? Or do all of us have a spiritual obligation to be good receivers as well? And, is that, too, a path toward happiness? To rephrase the prayer, is it not in receiving that we provide others the opportunity to give?
I suspect that many of us are better givers than we are receivers. Receiving — even complements — may make some of us uncomfortable (“oh, it’s nothing!”). Perhaps we can learn to give greater happiness by learning to accept gifts in all their forms with greater grace. It is in receiving that we give.
I’ll end by sharing a gem I found while looking for the exact wording of the Saint Francis prayer (and the correct spelling of “Assisi!”). It is a stunningly beautiful and powerful rendition of the Saint Francis prayer by singer Sarah MacLachlan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VSyuar6oF8
And now I’ll happily receive your thoughts on this topic!