I know someone who is a giver. Let’s call her Esmeralda. But Esmeralda is not just any giver, she’s a person who needs to give—either her time, her concern, even a gift she’s made. Over time, when she wasn’t profusely and ceremoniously thanked again and again for her efforts, she would sulk. Now, I ask you, what kind of gift is that to the recipient?photo

Recompense, as a verb, means to pay back. Recompense the noun is usually referred to in insurance as the payment one receives to make a wrong right. But there’s another definition for the noun, which goes: “Reward given for effort made.” Now that, I find interesting. It’s always those obscure definitions that get me.

Of course Esmeralda had every right to be properly thanked and have her friends appreciate her kindness. But she always needed more, and the thank you had to be just the way she wanted it.

She left many of her friends feeling like they owed her something every time she’d show up to help out. Curiously enough, her thoughtful giving wrecked many friendships. It’s only the few who see her giving as a need within her who have stayed the course, and those few have taken the task of building her back up time and again when she gives and isn’t properly thanked by someone.

I could leave it at that, but since there’s a little Esmeralda in all of us, I thought we deserved a happy ending, so…

Esmeralda finally found that core group of friends who have her back. They give her their honesty, but they do it with love.

Yes, that’s much better.

When you give, give often and give freely, with no strings attached. Remember my fellow Esmeraldas, our gifts are in the giving, not in the reward.


This Recompense Series kicked off yesterday with a look at kindness and payment as seen through my eyes, the eyes of a writer and storyteller. Tomorrow: Appreciation!

My book, Upside Down Kingdom, was taught in a college Humanities course its first year in print. The course examined art, love, music, religion, and the way we treat one another as human beings. UDK was required reading. It’s on Amazon.