I thought I knew was selflessness was. I’ve done things for other people without getting (or expecting) anything in return. I’ve done something I didn’t want to do because I knew it was what someone else wanted. I’ve put my own happiness at risk for someone else.
But none of that is really selflessness.
Selflessness, as I found out yesterday, is allowing your nephew to climb up onto your lap after he’s finished his dinner (and while you’re in the middle of yours) and take the fork from your hand to serve himself from your plate.
Yeah, okay, so I gave my food to a toddler–big deal. Well, if you know me, you know this is a big deal. I’m very greedy when it comes to food. I don’t like sharing unless I can ensure the other person doesn’t end up with more than me. I hate it when I’m at a restaurant and my dining companion orders something that looks better than what I have. Skipping dessert makes me cranky.
But it was simple to allow my nephew to steal my food. And when he dropped a piece of lasagna in my lap, I didn’t even flinch (it only reinforced the fact that we’re related).
I used to think I could never have kids because I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice enough for them. I’m not trying to compare sharing my food to having children, but…fine, that’s exactly what I’m doing. Because for me, right now, giving up some of my dinner for my nephew’s enjoyment is the closest I can come. And it feels good to know that I am at least capable of being selfless, and that, when the time comes, I’ll be able to apply the principle to more important things than lasagna.
Like ice cream.