This song was striking to me the first time I heard Marshall Rosenberg sing it plainly on the audiobook of Speaking Peace. Rosenberg isn't much of a singer, but the songs he sings reflect his approach to nonviolent communication quite well.
Rosenberg's understanding is that giving is very much a part of our nature. In giving to others, we find pleasure and joy. With that, we also experience the joy of willingly being taken from--something that sounds foreign to most ears.
I am aware that I have been given to and that I have taken. I am also aware that I find joy giving and being taken from (most of the time!). Rosenberg has helped me see this as a precious value and practice.
I am also aware of one of the paradoxes of this week which Christians call Holy Week: what is being taken is also being given. "No one can take my life from me; I lay it down."
I never feel more given to
than when you take from me -
when you understand the joy I feel
giving to you.
And you know my giving isn't done
to put you in my debt,
but because I want to live the love
I feel for you.
To receive with grace
may be the greatest giving.
There's no way I can separate
When you give to me,
I give you my receiving.
When you take from me, I feel so
-- "Given To" (1978) by Ruth Bebermeyer from the album, Given To
John Franklin Hay
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA