Senate Sketches # 1229
Senator Hank Sanders
This Sketches is incomplete but I am sending it anyway because I want you to have it before Christmas. It’s my gift to you.
Giving is powerful. I write this partly because we say that this is the season to give. However, I write to say that every season is the season to give. Every day in every season is a time to give.
Some of us know how to give but don’t know how to receive. Too many of us know how to receive but don’t know how to give. The real challenge is to give and receive with equal facility for they are truly bound together.
When I was a child I did not really know how to give or receive. I was bad at both. Then I learned to give but did not learn to receive. I still work on the receiving.
When we really receive, we give the gift of giving to others. When we do not really receive, we deny others the gift of giving. We give when we receive with grace and appreciation. Giving is powerful.
Sometimes I will do something for someone and they will say, “You didn’t have to do that.” I will reply, “It’s a gift. It would not be a gift if I had to do it. It would be an obligation or duty.”
We can make giving more powerful when we don’t expect a gift. When we expect a gift, we reduce the power of giving. Expectations turn gifts into obligations. We depower the gift. I know it’s hard but we can make giving more powerful by reducing our expectations. We give by ceasing to expect.
How do we receive? Are we always thankful? Are we always appreciative? If the gift we receive is not what we want or need, are we thankful for the thought behind the gift? Do we miss the gift in the giving because we circumscribed the gift with our expectations, our focus, our limitations?
Sometimes people ask me how am I doing and I say, “I’m blessed. My cup runneth over.” Then I will say, “I try to keep my cup small so it will run over easy.” Our ever present cup is our expectations. We receive more gifts as we expect less.
When we expect or hope for something in return for a gift, it ceases to be a gift and becomes an investment. We must learn to give without expectations so we can truly give and others can truly receive. Giving is powerful.
Who we give to says something about our giving. If we give mostly to those we think can help us sometimes in the future, we are usually making an investment, not giving a gift. If we give mostly to those who have plenty, then the gift of giving is diminished. If we give mostly to those who have status, we may well be trying to impress and therefore investing. True giving is based upon needs.
Every one of us has something to give no matter how poor or powerless or seemingly insignificant. Everyone of us need something, no matter how rich or powerful or famous. The reason we miss so many opportunities to give is because we focus on wants and desires rather than needs. We also focus on material things. To some, it is not a gift if it is not material.
Sometimes a good word is just the gift needed. Sometimes a pat on the back or a warm smile or a listening ear or a phone call is just the thing needed at that moment. I think hugs are special gifts. I give hugs because they are therapeutic. Sometimes people don’t know what they really need. Oftentimes I have given hugs and someone will say, “Thank you, I needed that.” Hugs are gifts to others but when they hug back, they gift me.
As Christmas draws near, giving is very much on my mind. My first thoughts were about material things I could give. That was hard because I have an aversion to shopping. I then asked myself, “What do the people I love really need?” I also asked, “What can I give that is not necessarily material in nature?” I found out that I had a lot to give. I believe that you have a lot to give that you have not thought about.
I want each of us to give our best whether material, emotional, physical or spiritual. I want each of us to give what is needed, not what is wanted. I want each of us to allow each other to give. I want each of us to reduce our expectations so that we can be truly thankful for the gifts we receive. I want each of us to know that we have a lot to give. I want each of us to know that giving is powerful and we control the gift.
Now on to the Daily Diary.
Saturday – I talked with lots of folks including John Zippert of the Federation of Southern Cooperatives (the Federation). I traveled to Montgomery where I handled an urgent matter and returned to Selma. I returned home to get away from it all.
Sunday – I did Radio Sunday School with Dr. Margaret Hardy, Radio Education with Perry County School Superintendent John Heard, and Sunday Review. I participated in Sunday School and rushed to meet with Lester Brown and others from out of town. I had Sunday Dinner with Dr. Fannie McKenzie where we discussed education. I worked on Sketches and other matters. Among the many I talked with was Leonard Dunston of North Carolina. I worked into the night.
Monday – I completed Sketches and talked with the following: Sharon Wheeler of Montgomery; Susan Kennedy of the Alabama Education Association (AEA); Phil Fraas of Washington, D. C.; and Morris Hardy and Leo Branch of the Greene County School Board. I participated in several conference calls and traveled to Greene County and returned to Selma.
Tuesday – I talked with the following: Selma Businesswoman Yvonne Hatcher; Dr. Tilahun Mendedo and Dr. McNair Ramsey of Concordia College; Consultant George Alford; State School Superintendent Dr. Joe Morton; Anita Archie of Montgomery; Donald Stewart of Anniston; Senator Roger Bedford; Othello Cross of Arkansas; Albert Jackson of Dallas County; and State Representative Berry Forte. I appeared on Faya’s Fire Talk Radio Program and handled many different matters.
Wednesday – I talked with the following: Selma Businessman Joe Carstarphen; Dr. Paul Hubbert of AEA; Selma Businessman Buddy Swift; Artist William Blakes of Selma; Kirk Wheeler of Chattanooga, TN; and Constance Jones of Huntsville. I hosted the Radio Program Law Lessons and worked on Sketches and other matters. I did several conference calls, traveled to Montgomery for a matter and returned to Selma.
Thursday – I worked on Sketches, handled various matters and talked with the following: Dr. Carol P. Zippert of Greene County;
NOTE: Sen. Hank Sanders (D – Selma) has written weekly columns for papers in his legislative district for over twenty years. They are not available online from the rural, weekly papers which publish them. This column is provided by Sen. Sanders’ office to Doc’s Political Parlor for inclusion in the Daily Headlines.