Receiving Gracefully…Giving Fully

In my time on earth, I taught mama many important lessons.  I was on a mission, you see — an earthbound angel assignment, you might say.

Giving from the heart is an attribute that mama has held since she was a little person and she didn’t need guidance from me on that point.  I was just the happy recipient of her bountiful love and gifts, but she was lacking in how to receive graciously.  Sure, she was able to receive my sloppy kisses and my abundant joy, but in the more traditional sense, mama has not been good at receiving.

Baby Timmy Elijah and Wilbur receiving mama's love

I know I’ve talked about this in previous posts and I think it’s a topic that needs to be revisited.  Mama has been forced to face this deficiency in herself this year, and this was my final gift and lesson to her.

When I was ill this summer and had emergency surgery, FOA’s started sending cards and checks to help with my medical bills.  Our friends at SacPaws even reached out to find specialists and experts for my care.  I felt fine receiving support and love in it’s various forms, but mama was reluctant and unsure how to act.

I was able to coach her along and remind her how good it feels to give freely and that she cannot deny others that same glorious feeling.  The universe has properties that are set in stone, and one of those properties is to continue putting situations before us until we finally learn the lesson.

And since mama had not been fully educated on the art of receiving, the universe (and her furry angel) continued to throw circumstances and people her way to challenge her growth.  After my transition, the support coming mama’s way was a tidal wave of love that could not be ignored and, I’m happy to say, she’s starting to get it.  Did she have a choice?

Lisa sharing her laughter & love

Our dear FOA and close confidant of mama, Lisa Maslack, has taken giving to a whole new level through my issues.  Lisa has been a great friend — one of those people who always listens with her heart and laughs with a snort.  These past weeks, she has demonstrated her support and love for us with big, swooping gestures.

Lisa started a donation site to help with my medical bills.  As you know, mama insisted the doctors go to every length to try to keep me here on earth, and the expenses grew quickly.  When all was said and done, mama had incurred almost $13,000 in vet debt and Lisa, being a friend of action, was compelled to do something.

And, had it not been for Lisa’s generosity, Little Timmy would never have come into mama’s life.  Mama is filled with gratitude and finally able to accept being on the receiving end of goodwill.

Mama can see the immense joy that Lisa experiences in giving of herself, her time and her resources.  How can mama possibly deny her friend all of this joy?

And, with gratitude, I say that this is the lesson, friends… Receive as fully and open-heartedly as you give.

Timmy happily receiving kitten love



  1. This hits so close to home, dear Atticus. I am like your mama in many ways, particularly in this area of giving and receiving. I find it so easy to give from my heart, but I often feel embarrassed when someone gives me something. I don’t quite know what to say or do. I was even like this when I was very young. I couldn’t wait for everyone to open their Christmas and Birthday gifts from me. But when it was time to open my gifts, I had a strange feeling that I might not give the proper response. Funny how things like that can stick with you, even after more than half a century.

    Thank you for sharing this, Atti. You are still a great teacher and I am working on being a better learner. I hear you loud and clear. All the money spent on your care was worth every penny. It gave us precious days that so many FOAs will cherish for the rest of our lives. I wish I could have been of more help. But you know, my boy, that I was always here for your mama. I always will be whether she likes it or not. You and I made a pact long ago because you knew I was a man of my word. I will be true to my promise, Atticus. Only you could hear me. And only you know what I mean. One day your mama and I will meet in person and I will be hearing your barks of joy, meant especially for me.

    Your friend,

    William Austin Howe recently posted..My way of thinking/ Mommee the cat

  2. Dear Atticus,

    You raise a very good point about giving vs. receiving. I am also uncomfortable being in the receiving position, but my furry companions have helped me realize that we can take turns offering love and comfort, and that receiving is just as good as giving.

    Everyday Zachary is waiting at the door to greet me, happy I am home again, and wanting acknowledgement from me. Seeing his warm furry face lifted up in adoration and excitement that I am home will turn a bad day into a much better one. There is a give and receive cycle in each one of these greetings between us, and life would be very drab without it.

    Often in the course of my day at home, Zach will decide that he needs some love and reassurance, and he will seek me out and insert himself into whatever I am doing (so long as it doesn’t involve the vacuum cleaner or water!) He isn’t shy about getting his needs met. If I am working on the computer he will cuddle up between me and the keyboard, which makes it very difficult to type. If I am reading or watching TV and he needs his “fix” he will climb up settle down on my chest and give a deep sigh of contentment. Through him I have learned that it is important to identify what I need and okay to seek out people that can fulfill that need.

    There is so much we can learn from our animal companions about giving and receiving. Whether given a new toy or having a bowl filled with food, our animal friends accept and enjoy the bounty. They live a life of simple gratitude for what they receive and give unconditional love in return. If only we could follow their example the world would be a better place.



  3. Atticus says:

    Bill, it sounds like you & mama are a lot alike in this regard. She has those kinds of childhood memories too. But, as I’ve talked about, it’s just as important to receive graciously as it is to give openly. I hope you are learning this lesson too — mama has been forced to! :)

  4. Atticus says:

    I love hearing how little Zach lets his needs be known and how much love he shows you. Yes, our furry companions have much to teach humans! I’m happy that Zach is teaching you how to receive with an open heart — an important lesson for sure!

    I’ll be watching over you as you enjoy your getaway this weekend. So if you feel a little extra love coming your way, it’s from this furry angel :)

  5. I totally agree that it is so important that we are able to receive as well as give – sometimes, as you suggest here, especially so for those people who naturally give so much to others. (Conversely I have noticed that there are some people who seem to have no problem receiving, but need to work on giving back as well…) I guess balance is the key – and in any one moment accepting what the appropriate response might be. I have only just started reading this blog, so I wasn’t along the ride for all the events and trauma of the last year. I am so glad the help from friends is being accepted openly, and that Timmy is now part of the family.
    Imogen Ragone recently posted..Alexander Technique and the Power of Thinking

  6. chrislwagner says:

    I can just hear lisa snorting! I’m glad you put the link to the donation site to remind me! Much love

  7. Donna McCord says:

    This is beautiful, Atti, and I also just love the photos you shared here with us! I, too, have suffered from not being able to receive graciously… compliments, good things happening in my life — they all seem almost too good to be true, because how could it be true that I deserve such goodness? I agree that when you have a lesson to learn, situations continue to appear in your life in different ways until you do learn the lesson! It is the same with Jesus’ gift of forgiveness and salvation…He offers it freely and fully, but we must receive it graciously…we may not deserve it, but by receiving it as He intends, we bring Him joy! the other benefit of receiving graciously is that we experience deep joy, too. I am happy that your Mom is learning the lesson you have helped her to embrace, and I thank you, too for the insight on how I need to do the same…isn’t it amazing how God works to bring us each what He knows we need? Thank you, Atticus! Blessings to your Mom and Timmy and Wilbur and Bella.

  8. Pat Zahn says:

    A lovely gift to leave behind Atticus. I have so many giving friends that I have to remind that when you don’t accept a gift you are diminishing it and the giver.
    Pat Zahn recently posted..Pocket Photo Albums are Quick and Easy

  9. Jane says:

    It is very important to be able to receive as well as give. I think for me it is easier to give than to receive. I think sometimes it has to do with low self – esteem. I see this in myself sometimes and also in my daughter.

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful blogs.

    Jane ~ mom to Nicole, 17 yo, VSD, PAH, Eisenmengers (dx 1/22/10) BHJS (dx 2/4/11
    “You’re braver than you believe, stronger that you seem, and smarter than you think.”

  10. Atticus says:

    Thank you Imogen & you touched on a good point that I forgot to mention — yes, it’s true that some (the “takers”) have no problem receiving but are not givers. As you said, balance is important.

  11. Atticus says:

    Yes Chris, the snorts get us smiling! I just found out from “the snorter” that you donated to my fund recently — Many, many thanks!!

  12. Atticus says:

    Thank you for this beautiful comment, Donna. Yes, those things we need to learn continually pop up until we “get it”.

    mama knows what you mean about receiving & thinking “do I deserve this” or similar such things, but you’ve got to get over that! we deserve, just because we Are :) Hugs to you Donna!

  13. Atticus says:

    I’m so happy you stopped by Pat, and you’re absolutely correct! Receiving graciously is a gift to the giver, & we can’t deny those gifts.

  14. Atticus says:

    Jane, thank you for stopping by and for making an important point — perhaps not being able to receive well is partly low self-worth or self-esteem. if you don’t feel great about yourself, it’d be hard to feel like you deserve a gift. nice food for thought, Jane! Thanks

Speak Your Mind

Connect with Facebook

CommentLuv badge