Updated: Jun 11, 2020
Recently, my wife shared her dilemma about accepting cakes from someone who loves my daughter a lot. They used to go to a fitness centre together where this gentleman slowly developed fondness for my daughter. He is in his early sixties and his daughter-in-law makes superb cakes. Since my daughter loves cakes; every now and then he would bring something for her. My wife felt very uneasy as this one-way traffic of gifts was not acceptable to her. She told him that she would like to pay for the cakes. He refused flatly.
I remembered about one of my friend who once had to accept hospitality from some organisation during Amarnath Yatra (pilgrimage to holy shrine of Amarnath in Kashmir which involves many miles of trekking) because of inclement weather. This organisation holds langar (community kitchen) every year during the Yatra. This friend who was a senior police officer later tried to return the favour which they politely refused as they had enough. Now this friend of mine remained restless for months for having accepted their hospitality and then not being able to do anything for them.
Many of us are in the same boat. Generally we don’t want to take favours. We have difficulty accepting things from people around us. I am not talking about those who have an axe to grind by helping us. There, one needs to be watchful.
Why is it so? Because of ego? Do we feel small when we accept something from someone? Particularly, do we feel uncomfortable when we get something from one who is below us in the socio-economic ladder? Or we feel even more uncomfortable when someone higher than us gives us something because the pressure to reciprocate in equal measure develops.
I told my wife not to worry. If he wants to show affection through an action, let him. I had realised this sometime ago. Life is a flow. People, things, and situations come and go. Whenever we hold any of these too tight, we experience pain. Our job is to flow in life and contribute to the flow at the same time. So I told her to take it easy and help someone else who she loves or whom she finds deserving. Do this with open heart and love; of course without any expectation. This way we help complete the cycle of nature which is nothing but give and take.
When we accept something with grace, we show our respect to the other person. There is nothing to gloat about when we give something to anyone. All of us are living on borrowed things; right from our body which is a loan from this earth to the air that we breathe, or sunshine, all are free goods. So, giving or taking something does not make us tall or short. It is essential to understand the flow of life and death. Accumulation of any kind is not approved by nature. So, just be; live in grace and gratitude.