Every person that has ever been a Church goer has certainly heard the phrase, “It is better to give than to receive.” Granted, there are people that have heard it and don’t believe it, as well as people that have heard it and have no concept as to what it means.
Raised in a religious environment, I was taught about giving to others. This has been true, most of my life, since being only a few months old and up until I was grown and married, . Even after being married, I still went to Church with my husband. When I found myself alone, I went to church as a single person.
Many of those years, both married and single, were spent teaching children from three years old up to five years old.Sunday mornings found me teaching the Sunday School Class of four and five year olds, and Sunday evenings found me having a story hour for three, four, and five year olds, and Wednesday nights found me teaching the same ages of children in the preschool choir. I enjoyed every minute of it.
Then when I moved to a different neighborhood and away from past reminders of a time that once was, I started teaching the preschool children again, only at a different Church. Again, I was happier than I would have ever thought a person could be. I was doing the giving and watching the smiles and happiness of the little children who were on the receiving end.
Vacations found me visiting some of my family that lived in a different state. One vacation would turn my world, as I knew it, upside down. The day for me to return to Kentucky arrived, but my sister knew that something was wrong with me, even though I didn’t really feel sick. All I knew for sure was that I had a sore and hoarse throat, from yelling at my seven year old nephew’s soccer game. My sister convinced me to go to the local urgent treatment center. Upon the doctor finishing his examination of me, I found out that I had asthma, bronchitis, and double pneumonia all at the same time, and he grounded me from flying back to Kentucky for two weeks. The time was 8:45 AM, and very reluctantly I went back to my sister’s house and went to bed. At 2:30 PM, (the time I was originally supposed to be boarding the plane to return home), I started feeling numb and tingly all over. I told my sister how I was feeling, and the decision was made to call 911.
Long story short, I was in bed almost a week and a half before I started feeling any better. After two weeks at my sister’s house, I was on my way back to Kentucky. At the time, I had a full time permanent job and a part time permanent permanent job. I was working 60-70 hours a week. Up until I became sick, nothing slowed me down. This was the beginning of April in 1990. Upon returning home, I resumed both of my jobs. However, I was being rushed to the hospital every 7-10 days with asthma attacks so bad that I couldn’t breath. On June 9, 1990 I lost both of my jobs. You can’t keep a job being rushed to a hospital that often. So started the beginning of a whole new way of life for me. I was on numerous medications, had to do nebulizer treatments four times a day, and was on oxygen as well. In the summer of 1991 I ended up having to file for bankruptcy.
It took up until 1993 for the doctors to find the perfect combination of medications so that I wasn’t being rushed to the hospital every time I turned around, so to speak.
I started going to the local community college in May of 1993. As I was about to enter the building, I received a call from my primary care physician. What he told me was totally unexpected. He informed me that I was diabetic. I had been on Prednisone ever since being diagnosed with the severe asthma. In the first six months I gained 100 pounds. After finding out that I was diabetic, I continued on with my life having one turmoil after another as well as several surgeries. Still on the Prednisone, I started having trouble with my legs, and ended up in a wheelchair in 1995. I continued with my education, just with a different major. Finally, I graduated with Honors, in 1999 and went through the graduation ceremony in May of 2000.
After my graduation, it took three months to find a job. There were many expenses involved with starting back to work after not being able to work for ten years, as well as having many medical expenses involved with being in a wheelchair. Long story short, I ended up having to file for bankruptcy a second time in 2001. I worked from March of 2000 up until November of 2004. That was when I lost my new job. Since that time, I have had even more surgeries, and am waiting for at least two more surgeries, and possibly a third one.
Up until 1990, I was a person who gave whatever I could, whenever I could, however I could, and was very thankful that I was able to do it. Unfortunately, since I became sick and with the resulting medical problems from all of the the medications that I have taken, I have had to become a receiver. When a person is used to being a giver and then has to become a receiver, it is very hard. Or at least it was for me.
For quite a few years I tried to make it on my own and do everything for myself. But then there came a time when I just couldn’t do it any more. I found it necessary to have someone move in with me to help me around the house. Eventually, I regained my strength and was able to do for myself again.
In 2016, I started crocheting in answer to some adds for The Red Scarf Project, and then doing pieces, that were seven inches by nine inches, to send to someone that would join all of the pieces together to make quilts for needy others. As I hadn’t crocheted in years, I had to watch a video on how to crochet. That was when I came up with the idea of crocheting scarves for homeless people.
The first year, 2016, I was only able to crochet seven scarves. A friend helped to deliver them. Many homeless people smoke, and I am allergic to smoke and will go into an asthma attack if I am around a lot of it, so the friend delivered them for me. Upon returning empty handed, the friend told me that we had to do it again the next year. When I inquired as to why, I was told that everybody that got one cried. So, in 2017, I crocheted thirty- six scarves. That winter was so old that the city declared a state of emergency. That meant that any place that could put cots down had to do it for the homeless to be able to get out of the cold. We were able to hand out twelve that year. That meant that I had twenty-four scarves left. I was able to crochet sixteen scarves before I had to have my right shoulder replaced. For 2018, I had a total of forty scarves to hand out to the homeless. I gave my Church fifteen to give to the men that were staying at the church for the program called “Room At The Inn”, some went to the Christmas shop for approved families that were needy of help, and the remainder went to the Chrysalis House for Mothers and children that were there for protection from abusive spouses. As yet, I have not been able to do any this year, but I have started on one, and hope to finish it as well as some others. I hope I succeed. will let you know how it turns out.
The whole reason for this long post is to show that even though giving makes us happy, we also need to be gracious receivers. when we are gracious receivers, we allow the other person to be a gracious giver and have joy from their giving the same as we used to before we became receivers. Also, even though we have to be receivers sometimes, we can still find some way to be givers again.