When we were children, we learned to receive care. We cried for attention, helpless even to say what we need. We learn to talk, then to speak, to articulate, to ask for what we need. For food. For comfort. For forgiveness. For understanding.
When we grew, we learned to care for ourselves. We learned to dress, not just to keep warm but to express ourselves through what we chose to wear. We learned to take care of our needs, to be ok when we are sad, lonely, or hurt. We learned how to be with others, of eye contact and shaking hands and pouring hearts.
As we grow older, we learn to care for others. We learn to be attentive, to be mindful that there are others with wounds that we are meant to heal. We learn to listen, to cry with, not just about, to not help for our need to be needed but genuinely for another. We learn to sacrifice.
Life is a continual death. Maturity is learning to die to oneself in service to others. Not to a destructive degree, of course (there is such a death of self that makes life not worth living). Yet true freedom, the freedom from our own insecurities, anxieties, and discomforts, can be found in the giving of oneself to another. For then we realize that we are gifts to bring life.
It is in dying that we find life.