Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Given To

This song has been playing in my head and heart this week

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 
the two. 
When you give to me, 
I give you my receiving. 
When you take from me, I feel so 
given to. 

-- "Given To" (1978) by Ruth Bebermeyer from the album, Given To

John Franklin Hay 
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

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