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The Paradox of Giving

 I had gone a–begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings! My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust.
The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last. Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say ‘What hast thou to give to me?’
Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg! I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.
But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.

                                                Rabindranath Tagore

I love the unexpected, ironic ending to this story because I know the truth of it from experience.  I’ve learned the hard way that cautious, even stingy, withholding of whatever it is that I have to give, results in little return.  And I’ve found out that the times when I’ve given “my all”, risky or costly as it may be, it pays off royally.  The sacrifice involved in self-giving can be daunting, but as the throw-caution-to-the-wind beggar Francis of Assisi discovered, “it is in giving that we receive.”  

Can you think of times when you have found this to be true in your experience?

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