One of the most dangerous symptoms of being chronically ill is being chronically self-centered. It is a symptom that has devastating effects on the heart’s hope and joy.

Over the past seven years I have struggled with this symptom. On days when my pain is constant and acute I am tempted to see only my personal suffering. When I’m weak and fatigued I retreat into my own isolated, solitary existence. I use depression and disease as rationale for being all consumed with myself.

I’ve experimented with all sorts of remedies for this symptoms and I always come back to one tried and true cure: give.

Give a surprise gift.

Give a note of encouragement.

Give a loved one undivided attention.

Give the dog a little extra love.

Give a call to an old friend.

Give a stranger a sincere compliment.

Give a plate of cookies to a neighbor.

Give a thank you to your garbage man.

 

No matter how weak and tired you become I promise that you will always have a gift to give. In fact, I’ve discovered that the very best, most precious and treasured gifts, come from the most fragile givers.

As the late Jim Elliot, missionary and author, once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Giving is more than a remedy for a symptom. Giving is a sure cure for the heart and soul.