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Give the Good.

Editor’s Note: DCSC volunteer Erin Brown discusses a Lenten lesson that she is actively putting into practice. She delves into how it is in giving that we truly receive. 


“There is a wonderful, almost mystical, law of nature that says three of the things we want most—happiness, freedom, and peace of mind—are always attained when we give them to others. Give it away to get it back.” – John Wooden

We are miracle makers. God made us to be vessels of joy and love. We are capable of endless giving. Many would argue that we need to be full ourselves in order to give to others. However, the Bible reminds us that it is in giving that we receive.

In this Lenten season, I have been paying attention to how people’s energies, words, and feelings affect the people around them. It is wild to think about, but our moods, feelings, energies, and inner-thoughts are more powerful than we realize.

My co-worker, Christine, is working on a project regarding employee tasks and I am her ‘assistant’ with the project. When she emailed the task list over for me to organize, I responded with genuine gratitude for the work she had already done and enthusiasm for the work that we are about to collaborate on. She responded to my email thanking me for my enthusiasm. When we later met, we shared positive interactions with each other. I feel more connected to Christine after this encounter. This seemingly small interaction leads to bigger impacts; connection between co-workers, heading into our project with both of us bought-in, which hopefully leads to a fruitful and insightful project result and ultimately a good workplace mojo.

Our emotions, moods, and words spread like wildfire; both positive and negative. Whether we like it or not, we have immense power over ourselves and the people around us. I recently read a book by Jennie Allen which was centered around the idea that we “have a choice.” Allen goes further to explain that our souls are separate from our thoughts. And that we have the power to interrupt negative, spiralling thoughts with a positive one, or rather, an objective truth. Have you ever noticed that one negative thought usually leads to another? Have you ever stopped to think how your inner negative spiral affects your outer world? Allen reveals good news; we can also spiral upwards. So, I have been focusing on the upward spiral (fully acknowledging that we are not meant to be in an “awesome-super-positive” attitude all the time). I have just become more aware of when I am the cause of my own unhappiness. And I am learning to interrupt that. I have a lot more to learn, but I can already notice a difference in the stories I tell myself and the way I interact with those around me. I am learning so much this year and I am grateful for the opportunity to delve deeper into my understanding of myself, God, and the wonderful people I get to spend my time with. 

It is in giving that we receive. Give compliments and be genuine in those compliments. Give good vibes and be intentionally, realistically positive. Give enthusiasm and revel in the shared excitement. Give gratitude and over say “thank you.” Give love and spread joy. A little bit of love goes a long way. So, for the rest of this Lenten season, I’m going to try to do things that make people feel warm and fuzzy inside. I’m going to pay more attention to how my energy affects others and pay attention to the things I can control. And I’m going to give! I’m going to give all the gifts that God has given me.

Reflection: How have you seen this play out in your life? In what ways can the energy of others affect you? How can you be more conscious of that energy you put out into the world?

Erin is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from John Carroll University in 2019. At JCU, she majored in Human Resources Management and minored in Entrepreneurship and Peace, Justice and Human Rights. Erin deeply committed to service and investing in human development. During her time, she hope to foster new talents while also positively contributing to the well being of each individual served with the Father McKenna Center (FMC). Erin is grateful for the opportunity to serve the DC area directly and live in community with the other incredible volunteers!