Our Heart: Giving/Receiving

Mother Teresa

The fullness of our heart is expressed in our eyes, in our touch, in what we write, in what we say, in the way we walk, the way we receive, the way we need.”  ( Mother Teresa )

Someone recently sent me this quote…and when I read it…it resonated…deeply.  I so value the integration of our expression, receptivity, and vulnerability.  I think culturally, generationally, and in many of our faith-based beliefs, we are taught that our hearts will be filled in giving, doing, ministering, extending of ourselves, but our completeness in love and who we are is not only in giving, but the reciprocity of giving and needing…and allowing ourselves to receive.  I think that is some of the pain, the tendency to “burn out”, to lose faith, to assign worth or lack of in one’s self, to assign shame to self when we come to believe that fullness comes from giving and not needing.  There is joy in giving, but it takes needing to receive joy, as well.

Believe me, if you were sitting with me over a cup of tea, I would be saying, “I know this in my head, I teach this, I believe this,” but truth be told it is so not a part of my being or knowing to know need, honor need in me, let alone ask for what I need – and yet, what she wrote is true: “The fullness of our heart is expressed in [skip over a few words for a moment] the way we receive, the way we need [as well and including].”  I am not revealing any great secret about me, because I think what I just wrote is true for so many of us.

Having fullness of our heart takes trust, vulnerability, and yes, even risk of pain at times.  It is evident why fullness is challenging for some – sure we know pain, but because of experience, relationships, and events in our lives, trust and vulnerability may be challenged.  Fullness of heart is not possible if we are inside, planning a nicety, opening the doors, running out, expressing the nicety, running back, closing the doors, and not allowing anyone/anything in…and then waiting for something to get in – sitting in disappointment, rejection, abandonment, fear, self worthlessness, self blame?  You get the picture, I hope.

Perhaps a better image would be something like this:  did you ever leave a store and notice the blowing heaters right at the entrance blowing down so when the door is open it keeps the warm air in and prevents the cold air from coming in?  I think a picture of a “giving and receiving fullness of our heart” is like this…a saloon type door with the blowing heater above it so that giving/receiving can be freely flowing, and when things come along that are not healthy in that exchange the heart is more able to be protected by the “projecting heat barrier” above the door. 

The truth is we can’t just stop the current management of our heart and perform differently, believe differently, or act in another way in order to know fullness.  What we can do though is keep noticing, honoring our giving and receiving (or lack of) without judgment…and make a another choice in the next moment…in so doing we will overflow and “express the fullness of our heart in our eyes, in our touch, in what we write, in what we say, in the way we walk, the way we receive, and the way we need.” 

Much integrative thought to ponder.  I would love to hear your thoughts, reflection, and contemplations.


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