Put more in …

An elderly gentlemen came into our shop the other day desperately needing a coffee and a donut. He’d spent the last hour donating blood at the local clinic and felt completely wiped out. Despite this, he goes often and explained to me how his wife was once very ill and required numerous blood transfusions to stay alive. Ever since, he has been a regular blood donor, as, in his own words, “You’ve got to put more in than you take out”.

The phrase rang a bell with me, as it’s exactly what my Father-in-law said to me when I squeezed him for his secret to a long and happy marriage. “The most important thing,” he told me, “is to put more into your relationship than you take out”.

I often take sizeable withdrawals from my relationship, usually in the form of my wife’s patience and generosity, and make semi-regular deposits in the form of tidying up the house and feeding the rabbit. But do I put more listening time in than I take out? More date night planning? More cooking and cleaning? It certainly makes for a challenge.

A good friend of mine is currently battling unemployment and has found herself relying on Job Seekers Allowance. She has had to find some peace in the understanding that JSA payments are there for that exact reason and, in the long run, she will certainly put more into the system, in the form of income tax, than she’d ever taken out during this period.

I feel this phrase makes a good mantra for life. If everyone shared this philosophy, imagine the bounty we would reap! And no, I don’t mean in some weird, pyramid scheme. I mean, if we each fought to be the most generous, patient, and forgiving member of our family or friendship group, imagine the progress we would make as a society.

There is an English language school a few doors down from our coffee shop and every day at 11 am my friends from Saudi Arabia and Qatar come in for their morning cup of filter coffee. Each time they fight to pay for each other’s drink, scrapping to lay their card on the reader before their friend gets a chance to. I love that!

This month I have once again been inspired by those around me to be more generous, patient and forgiving. To put more into the world than I take out. Not an easy mantle, but a great target to aim for.