get-to giving

From Have-to to Get-to

The other day, I noticed something about how I was talking. cooper

I was on a walk with a friend on the Greenway, and realized that nearly every time I opened my mouth, I was saying something about how I (or we) have to ... fill in the blank.

have to go pick up my dry cleaning. We have to go to dinner with the Miller's tomorrow. I have to go to New York this week. We have to get together and do this again soon. We just have to.

What an innocent little guilty verb. After a little time passed, I stopped myself and said, "Let me rephrase that. I get to go to New York this week. I get to go pick up my dry cleaning today.... I get to finish three deadlines this afternoon."

But from have-to to get-to is no small distance—when it comes to the heart.

I first made the jump from have-to to get-to when it came to giving. In January, I was doing a whole lotta writing for a non-profit called I Like Giving, to help them compile some first-person stories for a book. (It's coming out this fall, so stay tuned for that!) Day after day, I was assigned to talk on the phone with men and women who were either the givers or receivers of some extraordinary generosity. People who had learned that they didn't HAVE TO give, they GET TO.

It was life changing. From that time, Patrick and I started keeping a little cash aside every month for "get to" giving. So when my sister suffered the tragic, groundshaking loss of her 17-week old baby Gabrielle while my mother was visiting Nashville, we had the money set aside to buy my mom a one-way ticket to New York. When a friend mentioned a specific piece of kitchen equipment she needed in order to follow her doctor's prescribed diet, we could actually buy it. Right there. On the spot. Mid conversation. The idea that we get to give revolutionized my perspective on generosity. It sounds like a no brainer. I wish it would have been.

But while I've learned to go from have-to to get-to in giving, I'm still working on in the other aspects of daily life. So... I get to do dishes, huh? Or... I get to make the bed? And how about when you get to re-write 4,000 words because you realize the first 4,000 were just rubbish. Really? Get to?

Yes. Get to.

It's radical.