Getting and Giving — October 23, 2011


It probably really IS that simple–we get so we can give.

Some of what we get is for ourselves; some of what we give out is also for ourselves–to take care of our basic needs. We hope that our “get” will be large enough that we can increase our “give.” But those two words have an interesting prefix to them which affords a greater spiritual understanding. It’s the prefix “for.”  FORgetting and FORgiving–even though we would insist that forgetting has nothing to do with acquiring something and we might be hard-pressed to prove that forgiving has anything to do with imparting a tangible substance. But when you put it in context, getting DOES need a “for” and giving could use the same. 

The only way I can really get anything in my life is by abandoning that which has proven to be extremely unsuccessful  and reaching out for something that has greater capabilities to match my talents. Most people are unable to forget because they’ve stopped getting–and they’ve stopped getting because they’ve continued the same dissatisfying practices that have garnered no productivity. The first time I hit my head against a wall and the wall doesn’t fall over, it should be safe to assume that the tenth time will not be any more workable. But stubbornness is considered to be a virtue when actually it’s just a way of making repetition seem noble.

In addition, very few of us learn to be forgiving souls unless we learn what giving is for.  Giving is to get rid of the excess we really don’t need. If we feel like we’re in a constant state of need, perpetually frightened that we’re going to lose what we have, then giving will be out of the question. The same thing is true with “forgiving.” There are really three things necessary to find out what giving is for–or to generate forgiving.

1. It is highly likely that someone is going to offend me. We need to stop acting surprised when human beings bump up against each other and some bruising occurs. There are just too many different styles for us all to end up viewing “stylish” the same way.

2. People have a right to offend me. Probably the most useless phrase in the human realm of speech is, “How dare you?” The fact of the matter is, you not only dare, but often are absolutely delighted to do so.

3. The only way to guarantee that I will have a chance to survive in my everyday life is to release you from your responsibility to meet my needs. People are not here for me. People are not encompassing the planet for my pleasure. People are selfish–and as soon as I understand that, I can stop trying to hide my own selfishness and set aside some time to make sure they have adequate opportunity to meet their own requirements.

Forgiveness is not a holier-than-thou attitude, piously looking over at someone and saying that although they have wronged you, you are ready to move on, beyond the pain. Forgiveness starts long before any wrong occurs. It is a philosophy that knows that interaction with other human beings will inevitably lead to a combination of pain as well as pleasure. Therefore, prepare for both.

Likewise, forgetting is not attempting to ignore unpleasant matters in your mind, but instead “getting” by reaching forward to new things, knowing that we have a small attention span and as along as we divert it to other activities, it soon will not recall the previous misadventure. No one remembers anything as long as they’re replacing it with something else.

So there is really only one bad way to live in this world, and unfortunately, lots of people find it. They stop “getting” because they forget what creativity is for. It is a distraction–to take us away from activity that has proven to be non-beneficial and into worlds where we can excel. So the absence of teaching excellence is the presence of regret, resentment and frustration.

To achieve “giving,” we must find out what it’s for–because FORgiving is budgeting in human frailty and disappointment instead of constantly being shocked when your fellow-man falls short of the glory of God.

It’s all about getting and giving–but you have to know what they both are for.  Forgetting is always knowing that the best way to get a bad taste out of your mouth is to quickly insert something sweet. Giving is being intelligent enough to know what it’s for–because the only thing I want to have in the realm of giving is control. In order to have control, I must plan for the fact that human beings are going to be in need and are capable of hurting me, but as long as I am aware of that I can deflect the pain and offer absolution.

It’s all about getting and giving–but you can’t forget without reaching.  And you can’t forgive without planning.


Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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