“If I had nothing to give, how much effort would you expend to continue pouring love into me?” she asked.

“My efforts would not change because they are not based on what you have to give,” he answered.

“But I have nearly nothing now,” she replied.

“I suggest you identify your hunger in order to seek the nourishment that will alter your vision so that you no longer see yourself poorly or in poverty,” he answered.

He knew there were lots of people using their souls to paint their hearts oils on canvas for the sole purpose of gifting their masterpieces anonymously and he knew the reasons were as varied as the masterpieces themselves. He also knew some would end up in dumpsters cause it was a homeless man that taught him about giving and expectations. He was young and felt sad for him so gave him two dollars and tried to talk to him. The man snatched the money from him without a thank you and said his two dollars didn’t mean he had purchased kindness and then told him to leave him the hell alone.

He never forgot the homeless man nor the intense emotions his words invited but after that day he understood the purpose of giving had nothing to do with how or whether a gift would be received. He understood that you can’t expect someone to give you love because you give love nor can you expect kindness because you are kind. The world would attempt to teach him otherwise and suggest he demand reciprocation and use discernment but he didn’t entirely agree.

He felt discernment was a tool better used for receiving than for giving because giving without expectation is giving without judgement. It is giving based on who you are, not on who you believe other people to be and he didn’t think it was much different than what some might teach a gentle child faced with cruelty from a less gentle child, that they need not be cruel in return and that although it will be the intense urge and expected response, it is possible to remain true to the nature of gentleness in order to resolve conflict.

It remains a social challenge
To use gentleness in the same manner that we use love, as both gift and defense.

It remains a personal challenge
To understand the world and her people are always giving and that all our leaves and branches will be taken to expose our roots until we learn how to receive just as well as we give.