Have you ever been surprised by a moment of joy or insight that you never expected?
Such moments are my frequent experience, largely because I am
a life-long learner, and because so much of my working life entails encounters with our clients. While I go into a meeting to guide and facilitate discussion, I far more often find myself emerging from meetings with fresh knowledge and understanding.
These paradoxes characterise our lives. Consider our client, Bruce Watt, who shared in a recent newsletter his experience of loss. Out of that loss came a strong desire to help others deal with their grief, and a book emerged from the process. From grief … compassion, from heartbreak … healing.
I am reminded of the prayer of St Francis of Assisi, and this extract in particular:
It is in forgiving, that we are forgiven, in giving that we receive.
Can you recall a time when you struggled to forgive someone for a hurt or offence? Remember how you consciously had to put aside feelings of being wounded, of your right to be treated better, of your list of previous offences? And remember that feeling of release and freedom that you experienced when you finally let go of those negative emotions?
I have recently been doing some personal work on letting go of those things that hold us back from a full life in the present … and forgiveness is very much a part of this. I wonder if forgiving ourselves isn’t as essential. So often, we are far more exacting of ourselves than we are of others, demanding of ourselves standards of thought and action that we would never require of others. There is such freedom in allowing ourselves and others to be imperfect.
The Chartered family has actively been putting the second part of the prayer into action: in giving that we receive. A team visited Iphutheng Primary, our partner for the past two years, to train teachers on computer skills. This session is one of four such sessions we will be conducting, and, once again, St Francis was proved right. While the teachers acquired some skills, it was the Chartered crew who came away with a sense of having made a difference, and being grateful for the opportunity also to learn and share.
Another team found themselves at the Husky Rescue site near Lanseria to help create a memorial wall and garden. Hard work on a cold winter’s day, but one of which Francis of Assisi, known for his love of nature and its creatures, would have approved!
St Francis found his expression of giving back by caring for nature. Each of us can find our own, and discover the unexpected … that we receive so much more by giving than by receiving.