As children most of us have to be taught the importance of sharing. A sense of possessiveness seems ingrained in our human nature. I remember reading, when my children were small, of a parent who claimed her child’s first words were “dat mine.” Sometimes we force our children to share by prying their tiny hands open to extract the object they won’t willing share with their friend.
Even as adults, me, my and mine are often used words in our vocabulary. We may still find it hard to share possessions. Many I know operate out of a fearful sense of scarcity, feeling that if their grip on something they value is loosened, it will be gone forever. They exhaust themselves protecting, defending and justifying not only their possessions but also their image and actions.
Freedom, however, is not found in possessiveness but in generosity. Those who are happiest are not those who cling tightly but those who live with an attitude of openness and abundance. They have learned that sharing is life-giving, not only for those with whom they share but also for themselves.
I read a quote recently from Andre’ Louf about prayer that teaches me something new about sharing:
Prayer is a heart that overflows with joy, thanksgiving, gratitude and praise. It is the abundance of a heart that is truly awake.
When we share, we pray. When we live from a stance of abundance, we are truly awake. And when we are truly awake, we are able to share not only our possessions, but love, life and presence with others. To be present with others we have to be awake, aware and open. We let go of the need to be right, the need to protect ourselves, the need to maintain a certain image and even the need to be understood. A posture of abundance frees us to joyfully offer ourselves to others, to receive joyfully from others, and to live prayer as we share life with each other.