Monday, December 23, 2013


Several months ago I received a gift that literally dumfounded me: a Wingard painting (the regal lion in the photo above). While I've admired art in galleries and museums in the United States and abroad (my favorite is the Metropolitan in NYC), it never occurred to me to actually own an art piece. 

Receiving a valuable gift like that brought back memories of all the awkwardness I've experienced when receiving gifts from others.

In December of 1994 I ran out of money at college & was unable to return for the spring semester. I stayed with an elderly widow in Fort Walton Beach, Florida for that winter (I couldn't afford to visit my home in Germany), and she learned about my situation. The day that I was to head back to college to clean out my dorm room, she gave me a blank check. 

"You're an honest man, Robbie. Fill in whatever amount you need. We can work out the details later." 

To this day I can't believe that I wrote it for only 1/4 of what I needed! Somehow I felt I was doing her a favor by not receiving the gift like she intended. Because of that, I struggled with college payments for the next two years.

The rule for me seems to have been The higher the value of the gift, the more unworthy I am to receive it. But why should I feel unworthy when it's not my gift to give but only to receive?

Maybe ...

-my being perceived to be in need is a scourge
-my taking is an admission of inadequacy
-my receiving is a form of slavery

Would you agree that everybody is needy at one time or another? 

If so, then is it true that people who are needy HAVE NOTHING OF VALUE? 

Here is a picture of my youngest child. She has no job, no money, and no experience in any field (other than being herself). Yet I will bend over backwards to make sure she has shelter, clothing, food, and love. I will make sure she's safe and happy.


And you know what? She doesn't apologize for taking the time I'm only too happy to give her. She doesn't shrink herself as small as possible because she's self-conscious about being cared for. 

What is most difficult to believe is that while our PERCEIVED VALUE might dip when we are in need, our TRUE VALUE doesn't.

Do you want to know your true value?

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