The Unassuming Gift of Reciprocity

From the beginning of my work with Neighbor by Neighbor, it’s been my hope that when working with individuals, an exchange of reciprocity could take place. By this, I mean the person providing the service or referral would be changed by the experience as much as the recipient of the gift. This is far from a selfish motivation, but a belief that reciprocity in a relationship gives honor to both individuals, and it achieves the desired outcome of shifting the power of the giver to empowerment of the recipient. It also acknowledges the spiritual truth that God desires transformation for the recipient as much as he does the giver. While this is a hope and a conviction, I could have never imagined how it would look in real life and real time, until last week.

I was about to take a walk on the beach, when before getting out of my car, I decided it would be a good decision to check-in with a woman I had a meeting with the week prior. The excitement in this woman’s voice was like the sound of my children’s voices Halloween night when they came back to report that they were given a full-size candy bar.

Her full-size candy bar moment was that she had found herself wandering around a parking lot days prior, and noticed the many acorns spread about on the ground. Her observation was that many were crushed, but the ones that remained whole were the acorns in the cracks. “Isn’t that just beautiful. It’s a picture of my life.” she exclaimed. It took me a moment, but then I realized her profound observation: It is in the times when we feel we have fallen through the cracks that we also find ourselves uncrushed and whole. I’m thankful for the gift of this beautiful picture, and the opportunity I had to celebrate reciprocity with this woman.


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