What About Sharing?

2013.08.01 What About Sharing

What’s the point of sharing? Is it for you or for them? Can it be for both?

I was in a small group meeting recently in which the idea of sharing came up. It wasn’t articulated as “sharing.” Rather, there were some statements made about how communism always fails and capitalism always wins. How did we get there? We read a short piece of text that had the words, “everything they owned was held in common.” That word “common” made people think about “communism” and it just didn’t work for people. I understand that wanting to laud your own system’s styles is important though it’s interesting, isn’t it, how easily we can cling to outdated stereotypes about other systems when it’s most commonly referred to by many in a sort of caricature manner.

I can’t remember the last time I heard someone speak specifically to the tenements of communism, weighing its pros and pitfalls. But, the aforementioned meeting aside, I’ve heard / read at least three people I know this week alone tell someone they sound like a “communist” when really they meant they sound like “a weirdo / jerk / moron.” Perhaps “communism” has become so caricatured because it has become so demonized after such a long cold war. Is this demonizing, then, an extension of the cold war?

Because it still doesn’t get to the heart of the matter: what about sharing? Are we too protective of the things we earned with our work to share them with someone else without worrying about whether we’ll get it back in as good of condition or whether it will be lost or taken or pretty much wrenched from our control? Sharing takes trust. Sharing everything with everyone doesn’t necessarily sound appealing to me and yet I often wonder if I share enough. If I offer enough. If I invite enough. And, when I do share / offer / invite, whether I’m doing it to build me up (“Look at me! Look how helpful I am! Remember me when I need a favor from you!”) or if I’m doing it to build the other person up.

To tip the scales from the former to the latter is a skill built over a lifetime.

I wish there was a way I could ask my toddler daughter why she shares pieces of a hot dog with me at dinner. Honestly, I think it’s just to see the smile on my face and to put a smile on her face when I hold my mouth close to the piece of hot dog and make a loud nibbling sound effect. Why do I do that? Honestly, I think it’s just to see the smile on her face.

Perhaps that’s what it’s all about.

-nm

P.S. Thank you for reading. It means a lot to me.

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