From the work in progress Life: A Book About Learning to Live
By Jim Rosemergy
One of life’s greatest joys is anonymous giving.
Many years ago, my wife and I gave a series of anonymous gifts. We went to a bank and bought a cashier’s check in the name of a person we knew could use the money. Then we sent the gift knowing that it was impossible for the person to discover we had sent the gift.
Not many gifts are given this way. Often we give anticipating that we will receive in return. I suspect our government’s foreign aid is often a tool of policy rather than a gift. It is a way to create a debt we hope will be paid at a later date. Governments function this way, and often so do we. It is not that we give to create a debt, but that, at times, we give so a debt will not be created. For instance, have you ever received a Christmas card or gift from someone that was not on your holiday list? How quickly we rush to reciprocate! Guilt usually motivates our last minute gift giving, and it is evidence that we feel “in debt” to the other person, or maybe there is a law demanding that for every gift received, a gift will be given. Or perhaps the law dictates that for every gift given there will be a gift received.
The supposed law of giving and receiving is expressed in various ways. As we sow, we reap. As we give, so shall we receive. Giving and receiving are one. It is more blessed to give than to receive. If these words describe a law of life, it is logical to assume that much of life is giving and receiving. And if there is a law at work, we are often blind to its workings. It may be that some of the things we receive in life are the result of what we have given. Giving secretly is a way to determine if there is a law of giving and receiving.
Anonymous giving is a lost art, or perhaps it is more true to say that it is an art yet to be discovered. Experience has taught me that there is great power is this kind of conscious giving. So many of our “gifts” are given unconsciously, and we receive in like kind.
I believe, and my belief is based on experience, that there is a law of giving and receiving. It is at work every day of our lives, but we have not yet discovered its great power. The reason is simple; when something is given, it appears to be lost. We no longer have what was given. Nancy and I no longer have the $50 gifts we gave away. However, experience teaches every human being that giving is not loss.
The law of giving and receiving says that whenever a secret gift is given, something must be received. There is no way that the person receiving the secret gift can reciprocate, but the law must be fulfilled. The “debt” must be paid.
Amazingly, the first payment is given immediately. The person who gives a secret gift is filled with joy. Imagine having a feeling of joy, almost ecstasy, and you have received nothing. In fact, according to appearances, you have incurred a lost; and yet you are filled with joy. This is a mystery of life. It is faith growing in the darkness. But be careful. Anonymous gifts must be given with no thought of return—not even the joy. When there is no why for what we do, we touch the purity of our souls, and we know Spirit lives in us. Not only do we experience joy, but we also discover that it is our nature to give. It is just as natural for us to give as it is for a tree to cast its seeds to the ground. And just as fruitful.
Secret gifts help the people who receive them. They also add mystery and wonder to the person’s life. The recipient wonders who gave the gift. He speculates. He watches his prospective benefactors closely looking for a hint that perhaps she is the one, or perhaps it is he… The world becomes a friendlier place. Fewer people are viewed as wanting to take. More are givers.
Secret gifts also continue to bless the giver. By touching the purity of who we truly are, the souls of secret givers are expanded. Their understanding of life is magnified, therefore they realize that much of life is giving and receiving. These great gifts are the outworking of the law, and no person can give them. Our Secret Giver is God and the gift this One gives is Itself. Every anonymous giver receives the gift of God, a gift we can never fully know, but about which we can wonder.