How do we receive gifts of love and grace? That is the question raised by "The Debt of Love." In this story a holy man, dressed as a beggar, enters the city and sees a barber shaving a wealthy nobleman. He asks for a shave and the barber leaves the nobleman and gives him the shave along with some alms. Touched by the show of charity, the holy man determines to reward the barber. Later in the day, a wealthy pilgrim gives him a bag of gold coins. He returns and offers them to the barber who chases him away with the razor, shouting, "What kind of a holy man are you that you come to reward me for an act of love?"
I struggle with accepting gifts. Many times I have had people offer me a gift born of love and genuine appreciation and have struggled with either turning it down or reciprocating. Now, there re times when gifts are given with inappropriate strings which should be refused, but that just makes it more difficult to perceive and then receive what truly are gifts of love.
It is equally difficult to receive compliments with grace. My/our first inclination is to minimize whatever led to the compliment. "I'm not that good of a player." "Did you hear my mistakes?" or "I've been playing guitar a loooonnnggg time." I have been trying to receive such kind words with a genuine, "thank you."