What first brought me to Al-Anon? The promise of relief from an intolerable burden. I came, in other words, to get something, just as we all do. By and by I found that "getting" depends largely on my willingness to give -- to be of service to others, whether it is just pitching in to help with setting up and cleaning up at meetings, or giving comfort and reassurance to others in trouble. The same spirit of giving must take place in every department of my life, particularly with those near to me. The name of this kind of giving is love.
Giving love is a fulfillment in itself. It must not matter to us whether it is returned or not. If I give it only to get a response on my terms, my love is cancelled out. If I have the capacity to give love, any return I get for it is a special bonus. It is through giving love, freely and without expectation of return, that we find ourselves, build ourselves spiritually.
"Has a man gained anything who has received a hundred favors and rendered none? He is great who confers the most benefits."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essay on Compensation)
Linda Gorham Yankton South Dakota