By Sasha Samy
I first read ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran thirty years ago. My understanding of Gibran’s prose has grown over the years with each read. With Christmas fast approaching, bombarded by the onslaught of advertisements and increasing commercialism from the media, I reflect on Gibran’s poem “Speak to us of Giving.” Perhaps, we should take some time to ponder over what it means to ‘give? Why is it that more often than not, we go on a frantic expedition of ‘gifting’ at Thanksgiving and Christmas but only to find the spirit of giving fizzling out the rest of the year? Do we give because it is expected of us, because it is a tradition to give at Christmas and so we feel compelled to do so? Do we spend beyond our budget and then find it hard to manage our finances during festive seasons? Do we give and receive gifts that we do not need, that often end up stored away in the closet or garage? Do we give with “joy” or with “pain?” Do we, as Gibran asks, “give of our possessions” or ourselves? Do we spare a thought for the many who have nothing? Do we embrace an attitude of gratitude for the little things in our lives at all times? For each of us, the act of giving in its myriad forms mean different things. I share with you Kahlil Gibran’s poem in the hope that you will contemplate what ‘giving’ means to you. Happy Giving!
“SPEAK TO US OF GIVING” BY KAHLIL GIBRAN
Then said a rich man, speak to us of Giving
And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
For what are your possessions but things you keep and
guard for fear you may need them tomorrow?
And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the over
prudent dog burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows
the pilgrims to the holy city?
And what is fear of need but need itself?
Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, the thirst that is unsquenchable?
There are those who give little of the much which they have
—and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire
And there are those who have little and give it all.
They are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.
and there are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
And there are those who give with pain, and that pain is their baptism.
“The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran, Penquin Arkana, London, England, 1992.
Sasha Samy (c) 2012
Author of “Transcending Abuse & Betrayal”