We cannot know for certain Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive,”
Because there is no verse in the Testament citing it but Paul’s Acts 20:35;
We have to take his word for it, or not.
But, as to the concept itself – please may I share with you the existence
Of a free book bin outside a secondhand bookstore here in San Francisco?
Dog-eared Books is the name of the store which is only two short blocks
From where I live. Most every day I like to go to see what may be in it.
Valencia Street at 20th Street is the address, if you wish to verify.
Yesterday, in the bin I found The Power Of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci,
A paperback Penguin with on its cover a delicately drawn green image
Evidently illustrating giving and receiving: a newborn seedling
With one green leaf pointing to the left, the other to the right. At the bottom
Of the bin the book lay with just four others. It looked a little lonely.
Bending into the cavity to lift it up to examine it, I fell rather in love
With its Italian psychotherapist author because of his sweetly smiling face
And because he is only ten years younger than I. The Dalai Lama
Spoke from its cover: “A book after my own heart.”
Now that I am through reading its words, the translator’s version of them,
What strikes me about this book that is so helpful in living Life –
Which I recommend to anyone intrigued – is how Ferrucci ends
His offering. On the subject of giving versus receiving
He opts to say in three short lines “Ultimately, it is all very simple.
There is no choice between being kind to others and being kind to ourselves.
It is the same thing.” But my apologies to Jesus and Paul if I am wrong.
Poems by Jonathan Bracker have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, The Ravensperch, and other periodicals, and in eight collections, the latest of which, from Seven Kitchens Press, is Attending Junior High.