Givent Ake

by Jen Slayden on · 28 comments

Once there was a man named Givent Ake. Givent had a life that from the outside people might appear green with jealousy. He had it all, one might say. A big fancy house with lush gardens and a swimming pool, fancy cars, and vacation homes scattered throughout the world, which were often the gathering place of celebrities and high profile guests.

Givant was married with two children. His wife, Gabby, was very active in non-profit volunteer activities, and enjoyed making sure that her name was on several buildings for her generous contributions to the community. She loved the spotlight. Gabby dressed impeccably, had her nails done once a week, and hired a maid to keep up around the house and help with the children, who were driven to a private school daily.

Givent Ake was a business man. When he talked with people he drew them in with his charismatic personality and easy conversation. But there were ulterior motives. Givent hid behind his façade of kindness to propel him forward financially and to feel powerful. For the deep blue shadows in his eyes revealed that these acquaintances, these "friends" were only being wooed because they had something he wanted in the future when he needed to cash in favors. He lived by the motto "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine."

Now in a nearby town, there was a lady named Lotta Faith. Lotta lived a simple life. She lived in an older house and lived below her means. Although she didn't have children, she was a wonderful teacher and mentor for troubled youth in an alternative school. During the holiday, instead of gifts, she would clean out her closets and donate to the local charities for families in need. She would hand-make items and write deep, long, letters to families and friends thanking them for the gifts that they were giving to the world through merely existing. She was never long in face or short on a compliment, even to a stranger.

Lotta had no desire for recognition. Often times she would perform random acts of kindness. And each week, she would stop by the corner park of Main Street and 10th, where old Ernest claimed a bench of his own.

"How are you today, Ernest?" she would say.

"Same as ever, dear. Still ticking, God knows why," Ernest would mumble, his hoarse throat barely a whisper.

Lotta would sit down next to the man with the twinkle in his sad blue eyes and they would begin the familiar conversation that had become part of their greeting routine. She enjoyed his presence. She always felt better sitting, listening to his stories, telling and sometimes asking his advice about the troubled kids she worked with, without breaking their confidentiality. When it was time to go, Lotta would hand Ernest a brown paper bag, filled with his favorite turkey and cheese sandwich, mustard only. And cookies. Two homemade chocolate chip. Ernest would smile, and say,

"Thank you dear. Not many people take the time to really talk. But everyone sure thinks they have important things to say! You keep the faith, now, ya hear?"

One week later, two days before Christmas, Lotta stopped by the park and Ernest wasn't there. She asked the corner shopkeeper, who allowed Ernest to warm up in his shop occasionally, if he had seen the old man.

"Ernest passed away last week. Apparently a heart attack. We didn't know where to find you. His children wanted you to know he spoke of you fondly, and often."

"I didn't know he had family" she whispered, visibly shaken.

"Oh yes! Old Ernest was well-known around here. I thought you knew?!"

"Knew what?"

"Why, Ernest was once named Givent Ake. He had a beautiful wife, although she talked way too much….." he paused.

"Well, they had two lovely children. He was a millionaire, you know."

"Go on. Please…."

"Well, Ernest, or Givent, lived the high life. He didn't have many friends. He pretended to be a friend to many, but he used people. He would only give to those whom he wanted something in return.

His wife died in a tragic car accident ten years ago. He changed his life after that. Vowed to appreciate every moment, and against his grown children's wishes, decided to go incognito and start to walk the streets every day, only coming home to a modest home at night. He was trying to understand the human conditional."

"The human conditional?" asked Lotta. "You mean the human condition?"

"No. The human conditional. Ernest said that most people he met had the tendency to only give on conditional terms, dependent on what they could take back. He used to be that way when his name was Givent Ake. Said he was cursed the day he was born because of his namesake.

The last several years of his life have been filled with deep sorrow and regret, but also wisdom and compassion. Why, he even helped me put my son through college! And remember that anonymous donation to your school? That was him! That was Ernest! I promised I would never tell….but, you know."

Lotta stepped back. Then she understood the many conversations she had with Ernest. And with her head held a little higher, knowing she was blessed with her given name, she set out to continue an Ernest journey to change the Givent Akes of the world.

Moral of the story? You have to have a Lotta Faith, and forget about Givent Ake. For life, my friends, is not about give and take. It is about being Ernest in your gestures of good will, giving unconditionally, knowing that as connected human beings the rewards will come in mysterious ways and through people and events that you do not expect.

Wishing you all the Ernest Spirit of Lotta Faith, Giving, and Harmony as we journey through this holiday season!


by Jen Slayden

Jen Slayden finds her harmony in Western Montana with her husband Mark, their three kids, and an outdoor loving black lab named Cody. Stop by and check out her life in music, words, and education at Find Your Harmony.
Jen Slayden
View all posts by Jen Slayden
(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacqueline December 4, 2011 at 8:02 am

A lovely story Jen and a great reminder that giving comes from the heart. It’s not about putting your name on a building or showing everyone how much of your money you can give away. Making an impact through giving can be as simple as being kind to a stranger or taking the time to show a homeless person respect and compassion. Have a wonderful holiday season.
Jacqueline´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber Giving Monday November 28thMy Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Jacqueline,
Thank you so much. It only takes a smile, a hug, or a genuine concern for another person to really make an impact. And the holidays are a good reminder that compassion should be generated throughout the year, for after all the physical gifts have been long forgotten, a gift of kindness stays in my heart forever!
Happy Holidays to you as well.
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Jennifer December 4, 2011 at 8:52 am

Lovely, Jen. I appreciate this time of year for reminding us to give and give thanks. Sometimes time and recognition are the best gifts of all. Blessings to you.
Jennifer´s Last Fabulous Post ..Stay Positive During Your Job SearchMy Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Jennifer,
Blessings to you as well. I thank YOU for giving a wonderful gift of friendship to ME:)
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

susan December 4, 2011 at 9:22 am

Jen, that was so touching – and very timely. This is the time of year one can get so caught up in “stuff” – the plastic side of the Christmas Season. Being Ernest is pretty much the same thing as being conscious. Living consciously – a great goal!
Hugs
Susan
susan´s Last Fabulous Post ..Beauty in Your Bones – Osteoporosis Be Gone!My Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm

The “plastic side of the CHristmas Season.” Wow, I have never heard that but really appreciate the lingo…how true!

Yes, Ernest/ Concious. A good connection and definitely a great goal.
Love and Harmony Susan!
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Cathy | Treatment Talk December 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

Hi Jen,

I enjoyed your story and your message. Taking the time each day to give something to someone else, even if it’s very small without any thought of return brings happiness not only to the other person, but to ourselves as well. You did a wonderful job of illustrating the idea of the importance of giving from the heart.
Cathy | Treatment Talk´s Last Fabulous Post ..Monthly Message – November 2011My Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Hi Cathy,
This post actually came about from my OWN struggle of feeling like someone who supported me completely flaked out. I, in fact, (and perhaps all of us) have a little of Givent Ake AND Lotta Faith in all of us. I felt horrible and guilty that I had EXPECTED something from this friend but through this journey continue to learn that we have blessings come back in abundance. Perhaps not from the person we expect. For instance, a few people I didn’t expect any support from stepped forward. So by letting go of attachment to outcome from OTHERS, I have to trust that life will bring huge blessings my way. It frees me to GIVE and GIVE fully from the heart, without any other motivation but pure joy and love and humanity.

In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

sheila December 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

Awwwwwwwwww great story!
sheila´s Last Fabulous Post ..Comment on Delightful Gifts! by SheilaMy Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm

xo Thanks my friend! Hope it tugged on your zen strings a little!
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Merna December 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm

A touching story that really brings home the idea that we need to be truly present for each other and by doing so we actually gain so much more than making contacts about give-and-take. Reading this makes me want to run out and find a bench where I can have some meaningful conversations. Thanks Jen – inspirational and moves the heart for sure.

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Hi Merna,
Thank you! Boy, I think every town needs a “bench”. I see it now….a remake of Lucy (from Peanuts) but everybody taking turns talking from the heart about life, issues, and connecting on a level that is beyond our ordinary small talk.

I am so glad you stopped by.
Have a beautiful holiday, Merna!
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Audra Krell December 4, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Wonderful, inspirational story Jen. Thank you for sharing such a timely piece!
Audra Krell´s Last Fabulous Post ..Money Secrets of the AmishMy Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Thank you Audra! It really is a good time of year to reflect on giving, and why we give.
I really appreciate you stopping by, and wish you a beautiful holiday.
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

David Stevens December 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm

That’s some story Jen,
Thank you…..always share the care.
be good to yourself
David
David Stevens´s Last Fabulous Post ..When I close my eyes…….My Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Yes David,
A bit of a spontaneous story that came out of me……you just never know when you start writing something where it will land!

Be good to yourself too, and thanks for being here David!
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Evelyn Lim December 4, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Lovely lovely story with a touching inspirational message. Thank you for sharing!
Evelyn Lim´s Last Fabulous Post ..12 Days of Christmas Magic 2011My Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Hi Evelyn,
So nice to see you here, and thank you for stopping by!
May you have all the beauty and harmony that the season can bring!
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Jean Burman December 4, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Great story Jen… so beautifully conceived 🙂

While it doesn’t always follow that the wealthy are always opportunistically counting… sometimes it does. And sometimes the poor are poor because somewhere along the line they forgot to give. Kindness and generosity is within the grasp of everybody regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances. Every single one of us has something to give.

Thanks again Jen 🙂
Jean Burman´s Last Fabulous Post ..Squall [NEW VIDEO]My Profile

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Jean,
I really appreciate the perspective you bring here. Yes, I am in agreement with you! I was not sure where the story was going as I started clicking away, but you are absolutely right. I have known (and DO know) the most generous wealthy friends that are absolutely imperative to the health of some of the non-profits in my area. And I have (and do) know some people who are bitter and broke because they never learned self-love or responsibility.

“Every single one of us has something to give” really resonates with me. It reminds me of a hymn that I have heard:
“Everybody has something to offer. Even the prince and the pauper…”
Kindness equals peace.
Thank you so much for sharing.
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Betsy at Zen Mama December 4, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Jen,
This is beautiful! One of my favorite things you’ve ever written! Thanks to you and Lance for sharing!!

Reply

Jen December 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Hi my friend,
Oh thank you Betsy! This was really a surprise story that came out of me, but I was hoping that it would resonate with everyone who struggles with issues of giving and what it means to give from the heart.

I love that you think it is a favorite! Thank you dear Betsy!
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Debbie @ Happy Maker December 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Wonderful story Jen, thank you for sharing it. Life is about just loving and giving with a smile. Do we really ever know Who we are talking to at times?

Thanks again and blessing to you,
Debbie
Debbie @ Happy Maker´s Last Fabulous Post ..The Signs of a Happily Married CoupleMy Profile

Reply

Jen December 7, 2011 at 5:45 am

Hi Debbie!
I like your question! (Do we really ever know who we are talking to at times?) Sometimes I find things out about people I have known for YEARS and think “how did I NOT know that?” I wonder if I wasn’t fully engaged or present.

Giving with a smile! YES! Happy holidays and peace to you, Debbie!
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Galen Pearl December 6, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Lovely story, especially this time of year!
Galen Pearl´s Last Fabulous Post ..From Victim to VictorMy Profile

Reply

Jen December 7, 2011 at 5:46 am

Thank you Galen.
Wishing you a lovely holiday season…
In Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Anne Graham December 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Jen, what a wonderful, loving, clever story! This has been a year full of thoughts of giving for me. Your reminders will hopefully help me to keep that sentiment throughout the season and beyond.

Anne

Reply

Jen December 7, 2011 at 5:47 am

Hi Anne! Thank you for stopping by!
I appreciate all you do for the community, and I know you will continue your wonderful work!
Many blessings friend!
IN Harmony,
Jen
Jen´s Last Fabulous Post ..Cyber-Monday and BEYOND: Music and Books that make you smile!My Profile

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

You will receive an email with any replies to your comment. Check this box only if you want to be notified of ALL follow-up comments. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Previous post:

Next post: