I gave my friend some bad advice.
Over the past few years, she's been volunteering her talents to an organization that's had several changes in staff. Some years, her colleagues recognize and appreciate her services; other years, her dedication is taken for granted. This was one of those years.
Except for the under-appreciation, she loves to share her skills. She's passionate. She loves what she does, enough for her to give consistently and free of charge.
"If they don't appreciate it, don't do it," I advised.
Immediately following my bad advice, my heart took me back to my own resolution.
In my father's later years, it was difficult for him to express his love. There was never a doubt how much he loved me, he showed it in a multitude of other ways, but he just couldn't say it. I decided I would never hang up the phone from him without saying, "I love you."
After a couple of years of repeating "I love you," at conversation's end, he might have returned the phrase-------once.
I never let his lack of reciprocation keep me from expressing those words. Sometimes I felt discouraged, but the discouragement resolved my heart to be even more diligent.
His death came all too quickly. One of my greatest and continual comforts is that he HAD to know I loved him. I never caved into his stubborn-ness. I did what I had to do, and in the end, what I had to do was for me. I felt love for my father and I had to express it, regardless of what I got in return.
My friend has a passion in her heart which she gives freely and lovingly for the benefit of mankind. She may not always be reciprocated for all she gives. She may give 100% and receive back 5%, but she can't let the 95% keep her from doing what she needs to do, regardless of what she gets in return.
In the end, she will look back and treasure much more what she gave, than what she received.