GIFTS AND STEWARDSHIP: Taking care. PART ONE
1. Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.
2. The act, right, or power of giving.
3. A talent, endowment, aptitude, or inclination.
STEWARDSHIP: n : the position of steward
1. One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.
2. One who is in charge of the household affairs
It's been several days now since my last post on Stewardship. Thinking, reflecting and pondering -among other things - have consumed my thoughts and my time. I want to be particularly thoughtful, and mindful, with these posts because there's a lot of delicate material here in terms of what's close to my heart right now. I've struggled with being a good steward in spite of all the wonderful gifts I have in my life. I have all these amazing opportunities and all these gifts that have been freely given to me by warm, genuine and caring people. I struggle with whether I pay them the respect they so fully deserve.
My sister shared with me an experience she had with her oldest son who is 8. He was being destructive, as most boys his age are in the discovery process: “How much can I abuse this before it breaks?” When confronted with Mom’s disapproval, he said “But Mom, it’s mine. I can do this if I want.” My sister was on the ball. She said “It’s yours to take care of…” and that, I see as impressive, if not profound. I shared the exact experience with my Dad when I was about my nephew’s age. Sad, really, because I destroyed some wonderful records simply because I wasn’t taking care.
I keep the following poem on the wall in my bedroom because it touches me very deeply for so many reasons. What I read from it in terms of Stewardship is that gifts come in many forms and INCLUDE the gift of being, the gift of existence and should we not take as much care of our own being as we believe we should take care of the "things" in our lives?
Max Ehrmann - Desiderata
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is perennial as the grass.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.