What is it that you have to offer?
Earlier last month I proposed that we all reclaim something… anything actually. I thought I was being super philosophical and deep by compelling everyone to reclaim their offerings. However, at the time I had no idea what that really meant.
I still may not know what that really means… but I’ll try.
I remember when I was younger there were some people who belong to a certain generation that would put these thick plastic covers over their couches. I didn’t want to move while I was sitting on the couch because it would make a loud awkward noise whenever I would slightly shift.
The other day I realized something in my parent’s home that I never thought twice about. We have this cabinet of glassware that I have never even thought about touching. I think, maybe, I’ve seen my mom open it once in my lifetime. My parents own fancy glassware only to be used when they host a fancy adult dinner party for fancy sophisticated people.
If you met my parents you know that will never happen.
I cannot understand why people would buy fancy, expensive, valuable things that they never have any intention of every using for their intended purpose or could never fully enjoy. I don’t say this lightly, I truly do not like sharing. I am not a hospitable, generous person. I don’t even wish to be one. However, I have a deeper enjoyment of stuff when I share things. I rarely offer to share, but I don’t mind the community and bonding that comes along with sharing. I just don’t initiate sharing. There are things that have a special purpose and only made available for special occasions. However, all of my stuff gets used and worn out.
This is what ‘reclaiming my offerings’ means to me.
My offering is my best. Its pulling the fancy plates out of the fancy glass cabinet to eat avocado toast on the fancy couch (without the plastic covering).
My offerings are the things I put out into the world that I hope to get back. This is not the same as giving something with the expectation of receiving tit for tat. It is akin to putting good karma out into the world.
A true offering is something that has a life of its own. It gives, it returns, it multiplies, it takes on its own purpose and meaning, and it meets a need and fills a void. It lives beyond the moment of transaction between giver and receiver. It is a couch that never gets worn and torn no matter how many butts touch it. It is the fancy glassware that never breaks and is passed down from generation to generation no matter how many times it has been used.
My offering are what I’m willing to let go of. Offerings are not trash or old and worn out things. This isn’t about things that no longer hold any value (I don’t care how expensive the purse was. If it has lived in the back of your closet for 5 years it no longer holds the value you thought it was worth. ) I can easily hand you trash or something that holds no value to me. Do you want my old band shirt? A pair of socks with holes? I can do that because that is not my offering- its my junk. My offerings are the things that make me slightly cringe even at the thought of getting rid of it. My offering is important and meaningful. They hold stories, memories, and emotions.
My offering is an honest expression of me. All of the above examples were tangible things. I don’t think offerings are things, per se. It’s the things that you can’t quantify. You can’t always touch it. You can’t ask for it back. Your time, energy, attention, words of encouragement, and sacrifices are offerings. Sometimes those intangible offerings are are packaged in stuff (i.e. you are offering love through a thoughtful gift, or appreciation through an act of service).
Offerings aren’t always obvious. One of my favorite quotes is, “Someone once gave me a box of darkness and I had to realize that too was a gift”. Offerings that come in a ‘box of darkness’ only come from a giver who who truly loves the receiver. This type of offering is rare and shouldn’t be confused for ill will. This type of offering doesn’t always feel good, but it never breaks the receiver’s spirit. Offerings do not destroy, undermine or take advantage. Some offerings are the essence of tough love. They correct, guide and protect.
Lastly, I think it is just as crucial to acknowledge the offerings you receive from others as you contemplate the offerings you have to give to the world. We are never just a giver. We are also receivers; and, sometimes being a receiver is harder than being a giver.