Time to Receive

Eileen and PaulWe usually think of December as a time to give. It’s one of my favorite months. We give gifts to express our love. It’s much easier to give than to receive the love that gifts represent.

My husband just learned that he will soon need heart surgery. He’s a strong runner. This is not the kind of gift either of us expected or wanted. Two days of doctors’ visits and an echocardiogram later, our world looks differently than it did a week ago. I am confident that he will come through with a stronger heart and renewed energy, but we have suddenly joined the legions of people this season who are in need of receiving from others more able.

We love to give to others and have already exchanged a few presents with friends. But since our news reached friends and family, we have had many offers of help. One friend is planning a prayer circle on the day of the surgery. She also sent roses. A doctor friend offered to be with us at the hospital, far from where he lives.

I am holding the tears back as I write, because his offer, like our other friend’s, is a gift on another scale. It feels wonderful and scary.

Years ago, a dear friend came across the country to lend me support during a difficult time in my life. My mother told her, “Eileen will be indebted to you for the rest of her life.” My friend replied, “I came because I love Eileen.” My mother was speechless. Receiving such a gift contradicted her training.

If we receive with a promise of payback, we are not receiving fully. Receiving is like breathing. We inhale first. Our breath expels naturally, beyond our body. We don’t exhale into our lungs!

The next time someone offers you a compliment, sends flowers, or spends time with you, absorb it as an inhalation of love. Let it in. Don’t worry about breathing it back. Your own gift of oxygenated love will flow naturally. The more deeply you absorb love, the more you send into the world.

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17 Responses to Time to Receive

  1. Alice says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Eileen. Merry Christmas. I hope your husband is doing well, my thoughts are with him.

  2. Phyll says:

    When I was 9 years old, my Dad had a severe heart attack, leaving him permanently disabled.
    He stayed at home from then on and took it easy. I had both parents with me throughout my childhood, picking me up from school, taking me to tap-dancing lessons, doing homework at the kitchen table, sharing meals and playing checkers. What I’m trying to say is that life and love oft’ have a path of their own. And, sometimes, the darkest cloud blocks the brightest sun.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Paul at this tender time. Have faith and hope.
    The love of your family and friends will illuminate the road ahead. You are both in my heart.

    • Thanks Phyll for your wise and warm words at this time. You are right that — as my mother used to say, “no cloud so black as will not see the sun again.” — Take care, Eileen

  3. jsholmes says:

    Accept the offers – people really do want to help. Prayers are with you.

  4. Sally says:

    Thinking of you both, with this news, and sending you love, strength, and support.

    • Thanks very much Sally. Your words and those of others are uplifting at this time of uncertainty. Actually, I feel very confident that Paul is in the best hands possible, and all will be well. We thank every one of you who’s written, or who is thinking positive thoughts even if you haven’t written. Warmly, Eileen

  5. Luis Manuel says:

    Dear Eileen,
    When will Paul have his surgery? (no need to say the day and time if you prefer so, a heartfelt prayer is independent of time and space) I want to joint the group of people that will be there spiritually praying for a successful surgery and a prompt and healthy recovery fro Paul, as I am doing right now.

    I have experienced the Love and the power of prayer in my life during my difficult times and thanks to it I am doing OK so far, Thanks to Ha-Shem. I believe in prayers in a way that transcends the pure mental reign because I have lived it empirically beyond it, and I seen them blossom to restore what is and most be harmonious, graceful, truthful and perfect for the goodness of all of us now or in the future.

    This will be a time for the two of you and your family to be Present, and a time to deeply absorb from all us and from all the sentient and apparently non-sentient matter and energy that is inside you and that surrounds you all : A time for feeling the Love, for hearing the Praise, for joining the Thankfulness and VibratiOM of G-d (VibratiOM is my way to talk about this enhanced Vibration from and to the Divine included in the AuM:en, AMOeN, AeMUN or אָמֵן :AMEN affirmation to G-d).

    So keep in Absorbing this feeling of sweet Love we are all part of, that as you well said, is inhaled and exhaled out of the body without promises and I might add; without constraints, fears, doubts or expectations… just let it flow in and out, breathing fully and focusing on the Face of G-d, be in this flow and keep sight of the Light while you traverse any apparent darkness or stress, and ask and look, as I was told, for the Mystery of the Divine Master to be revealed to you all. (Ribono Shel Olam, Amen אָמֵן) With G-d’s Help, Luis Manuel.

  6. Louise Gilbert says:

    Thank you for sharing the information regarding Paul’s upcoming heart surgery. Both you and Paul continue to give much of yourselves to your children, your friends, your community, and to the environment. Now it is time for us to surround both of you with support and love, even virtually!! Thankfully, the need for surgery was caught before Paul suffered a serious heart attack. My brother in law, Sid, had this surgery in his 80s and his son, my nephew Jonathan, had an emergency surgery at 49 for the same issue. Both are extremely active and are even better than ever post surgery! Don’t forget that music can play a nourishing role in Paul’s healing, so consider having him listen to his most favorite music before, during, and after surgery! Sending both of you my tender loving support.

    • Thanks Louise. I agree that Paul will be up and running again soon. And the place we’re going encourages audio tapes so he will be listening to nourishing music. Thanks for the reminder! It’s rewarding to be going to a place that honors the mind/body connection, after so many years ago working to catalyze the field! Warm thoughts to you for a happy and healthy New Year. Eileen

  7. imlastof11 says:

    As I have told you lately my son had a go cart accident broke fingers and a skin degloveing. Duke hospital has given us many miracles. My prayers for peace , so you can except what ever the mighty one has instore for your family. This is when finances will tare a family apart. We are on operation 4, it all about love and not wanting to lose something that’s not ours, we all belong to God. But we all have to pay our way one way or anther. I will be praying for peace and that you can afford the cost.

    • Susan, I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s broken fingers and that he has had to have 4 operations. It must have been truly awful and frightening. I will keep you and your son in my prayers as well. Eileen

  8. Dear Eileen,
    on this Christmas morning i’m sending my thoughts to you and Paul.I wish him strength, I think every time we face difficulties and obstacles in life, it is God’s test as he knows we are strong and overcoming it will make us even stronger. I also experienced recently the feeling when you feel love and care from friends around. (many times too). One month ago my mom in Georgia got stroke.. In 10 minute from the moment I called, all our relatives and friends went over and were offering help and attention. this is blessing. ‘ The more deeply you absorb love, the more you send into the world.” you said it wonderfully

    • Dear Maka, Thanks so much for your warm thoughts and for reminding me about the importance of absorbing love, as it allows more into the world. I will practice this. Happy New Year and may it bring you much joy. Eileen

  9. Elaine M. Naddaff says:

    Dear Eileen, My prayers are with you, Paul and your family. I know you have the strength to be patient and hope for the best outcome possible. Happy New Year, 2014! Elaine

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