A Lesson in Giving

At age twenty-five, holding my newborn infant in my arms, I discovered a remarkable truth, almost as if Hannah were speaking to me.

The more you give, the more you get back.

I had given myself in marriage and in childbirth, but oh, what I had received in return—a precious child!

In those days, all I had to give were friendship, energy, time, and love, but the truth of Hannah’s lesson was continuously confirmed. For example, if I had two friends I liked a lot, I found a way to connect them. The result was more friendship rather than less friendship. Connecting friends in the quilting industry was one of my greatest joys.

In terms of energy, especially in my 40s and 50s, it seemed the more I expended on my various projects, the more I had at my disposal. This paid off tremendously in my career. More recently, when I was asked to explore the possibility of a quilt museum in Winterset, I resisted at first, then poured myself into it. That undertaking reenergized me in ways more satisfying than I could ever have imagined. The Iowa Quilt Museum project reconnected me to my own home town and the people in it, huge gifts.

Financially, I didn’t have much to give until after my children were educated and my business succeeded, but I have found Hannah’s truth applies in this area as well. Generosity enriches you, manyfold.

A sentimental but beautiful poem my mother Dorothy Graham published in the newspaper she owned and operated in Norwalk, Iowa, for more than twenty years perfectly expresses how giving works. I’ve kept it posted on various refrigerator fronts and bulletin boards over the years. “The More You Give, The More You Get” may be tattered, but its message is solid gold.



5 Responses

  1. Mary Ann
    | Reply

    So true Marianne. And the older I get the more joy I find in giving everything from love to food to money but most of all my time and attention. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  2. Brian Downes
    | Reply

    Here’s perhaps my favorite saying.
    “A man who is not generous is no man at all.”
    Know who said that? Me, that’s who.

    • Marianne Fons
      | Reply

      Thanks, Brian, and I agree. At the Iowa Theater last night, “Scrooged” (1988) with Bill Murray was weird and inappropriate in many spots, but Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” message shone through—generosity toward others, whether generosity of purse or heart, makes us human.

  3. Carole Farmer
    | Reply

    It’s what life is about!

  4. Nancy
    | Reply

    Thank you, Marianne!

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