There are Givers and there are Graspers in this world. If you have seen that delightful old movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, you will know impoverished, young Charlie Bucket—generous Giver—who met the four other well-off children—the Graspers—to tour Wonka’s magical factory. Then there was the solitary owner of the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka himself, who had the fine skill of being able to “separate the sorrow and collect up all the cream,” to “mix it with love and make the world taste good,” who was an eccentric but generous Giver.
All of us have experience with Graspers such as the other four children who won golden tickets. Veruca Salt, who wanted what she wanted when she wanted it, expressed it this way:
I want the world, I want the whole world
I want to lock it all up in my pocket
It’s my bar of chocolate
Give it to me
I want the works, I want the whole works
Presents and prizes and sweets and surprises
Of all shapes and sizes
And now, I don’t care how, I want it nooooooow!
That’s a lot of wanting, wanting, wanting! What a picture of self-serving exploiters, who suck life and resources from anyone with no concern for harm done. We are very familiar with this scenario, aren’t we? We have plenty of lavish self-indulgence, self-seeking, and demand going on around us.
What arrests my attention, though, is the one who, in the midst of all this, is able to creatively “make the world taste good.” In the movie, Willy Wonka “makes everything he bakes satisfying and delicious.” Though he lives in a world of Veruca Salts and Augustus Gloops, just as we do, what he brings to his fellows tastes good.
I guess it remains with me to choose how I react and what I offer in this world. What this really means is that I choose how I see those around me—as resources to use up, or as unique, beautiful individuals, worthy of my Giving. When we see those around us in a new light, action follows. Behavior follows belief, and we are free to give.
Rather than being an exploiter of life, I can choose to see those around me as valuable and become a restorer of life, especially considering how much in the world destroys. We can choose to be in the business of Repairing and Restoring, separating some things (force and coercion, incivility, heartlessness…), collecting up others (kindness, gratitude, beauty…), and mixing it all with love. A Recipe for Repair.
This might appear to be airy-fairy, goody-two-shoes, Pollyanna thinking, but it’s not. Rather, it is the choice to daily live out what the world ought to be. It is choosing to be in the business of Restoration. Someone must do it. Otherwise, who will make the world taste good?
“How easy it is for one benevolent being to diffuse pleasure around him, and how truly is a kind heart a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity to freshen into smiles.” ~Washington Irving, 1783 – 1859
Yours for the return of Grace, Civility, Beauty, Gentility, and Excellence,