2014: Joy of giving and receiving

I’d like to talk about the joy of giving and receiving today. 受ける (ukeru) means “receiving,” which consists of three parts. The top lines represent the fingers of one’s hand, and below it represents a boat. The bottom line is one’s arm. When the boat brings back some items, one’s hands, fingers and arm receive them.

Ukeru, Ataeru Yorokobi. calligraphy by Rev. Masatao Kawahatsu

Ukeru, Ataeru Yorokobi. calligraphy by Rev. Masatao Kawahatsu

与える (ataeru) means “giving,” which represents a migratory bird. Migratory birds do not stay in the same place since they are either coming or going. Most things in our lives are coming and going — or we are giving or receiving.

喜び (yorokobi) means “joy,” which consists of two parts. The top lines represent musical instruments on a table and the bottom is an open mouth. As people play music, they open their mouth to express joyfulness.

I would like to share a true story about a man named Larry, who I read about in J Sports. In 1971, when he was 23 years old, his company went bankrupt. He lost his income and became almost homeless. He did not eat for a while and was very hungry.

Despite having no money, Larry went to a restaurant and ordered a lot of food. He knew he had to pay for the food, and grew afraid that he would be sent to jail. When the bill came, he said, “Sorry, I cannot pay.” However, a kind waiter named Ted approached him and gave him $20 instead of calling the police. Larry was so appreciative of this kind gesture that he changed his attitude in life. Whenever Larry earned some extra money from any job he found, he secretly began giving it away to poor people in town. For years, people knew that a mystery person was giving money away. Larry’s wife was the first person to find out. He was afraid she would be angry. However, his wife said, “You have done great things to many people, and I will support you. Let us save as much as possible to give to the poor.” They continued their generous giving until the end of their lives. They gave away an estimated $1.5 million. Larry wrote, “I had done this not just for others but for myself too because it made me feel great. I truly learned the joy of giving and receiving.”