No one has ever done something like this for me before.”
Her words hung in the air in the cold of February in the Mid-Atlantic winter.
I was speechless.
I’m happy to help. I hope it blessed you and helps you feel better. God bless.”
On the drive home I couldn’t stop my pondering on this unexpectedly grand exchange.
One act of kindness turned into a full life lesson on the beauty of a Godly community that seeks to honor the One who is worthy of all honor.
Giving is the REAL Purpose of the Season
I had not expected the ripple of the stone dropped: the gift of giving.
It did not occur to me that the gift of generosity unbound would create such a bubble of delight. But, I was blessed mightily to experience it pierce with His Love the hearts of those who have not experienced it before.
The day was like any other. I needed some medicine for my son’s treatment and I needed to pick it up at the office 25 minutes away. But, when I called the assistant told me that she would be happy to grab it for me.
I don’t remember the turn of events, but I recall she got sick and ended up leaving with the medicine, but was unable to drop it off as she was not feeling well.
No problem, I can wait a bit.
Long story short, she ended up having the flu, and would be unable to drop the medicine off any time soon.
So, I decided I would just drive over and pick it up. No problem.
Here’s where God showed up.
A few weeks earlier I had been the flu-sick, bedridden one, laid up in bed for the better part of 10 days. I have never been so sick in my life! It was horrendous!
The rest of the family also got sick, but for whatever reason I was surely the worst off, and with a three month old by my side, suckling away without a touch of sickness to his name. It was scary. It was tense, but eventually the worst past.
In that time when both my husband and I were simultaneously sick for several days, with six children in the house, the oldest only about 7 or 8 at the time, I was truly unsure how or what they were even eating. Several of them also became sick, but with barely much of the symptoms. I THINK one fever hit about 101F…nothing for our children.
My husband and I, though, sat around 103-104F and coordinated with our family care practitioner what steps we ought to take.
Fluids, and rest were the order of the day.
By the end of our self-imposed isolation, a dear friend stopped by and brought food, homemade bone broth, and several others items for our family. She obviously did not stay long, but she brought anything she could to help lighten the load, and in turn taught me a lesson I will never forget.
There is a miraculous element to being the receiver of a gift.
I cannot even begin to explain the joy and gratitude I felt for her, a fellow mom of many children, to take the time to serve our family in our time of need with a desperately helpful replenishment of supplies.
She barely spoke a word. It wasn’t about her. She was doing the Lord’s business.
She was simply the hands and feet…
So, weeks later when I learned of this sweet assistant’s predicament and had the opportunity to go see her, I jumped at the chance to pay it forward. I put together a fun little gift basket for her of echinacea teas, homemade applesauce from some canning fun I had recently had, some emergen-C packets, a few homemade cookies, and I don’t even know what else.
I truly just grabbed from things we had in our home already. It was fun, and I loved doing it.
What I didn’t know was that God had a pre-ordained appointment in my fun that was not at all about me.
I arrived later that afternoon at a small little suburban house in a typical neighborhood. The home was brick with a walk up stairwell in the front and maple trees all around. As I approached the house I heard a dog barking inside, and smelled cigarette smoke. I heard an older woman cough and the tv blaring Wheel of Fortune.
When I pressed the doorbell, ding dong, the dog began to bark again, and a litany of yells and profanity sprayed out while a young lady hushed the dog away. Soon the door opened in a flurry by a middle-aged man in an undershirt.
Um, hi. I came to see Nicole. I just needed to pick up some medicine that she had, and drop off something for her.
And I waited a moment as he called for her to come.
She arrived shortly in pajamas, still clearly not feeling well, and handed me a brown paper bag of the medicine I needed. We exchanged a few words and then, before I left, I said, “oh, and I brought this for you. I hope you feel better soon.”
Her eyes lit up, and her mouth opened in shock. She looked at this small, and simple basket as though I had handed her a diamond ring.
Wow, that is so thoughtful. Thank you. No one has ever done this for me before….”
The words choked in my throat as my soul attempted to speak.
I’m happy to help. I hope it blesses you and helps you feel better. God bless.”
As I turned and walked down the steps, the chill of the air made the falling tears feel like ice. What a beautiful gift it is to give, and extend a kindness towards another, whether or not we ever truly understand it.
I was given a gift that day: the gift of vision, to see that every act has an effect and possibility to touch a life.
And I get to choose whether or not I will get to be part of that connection through my willingness to give freely.
It is easy to get sucked into the vortex of commercialism and consumerism this time of the year.
Sales abound, children cry for this, that, and the other thing, and our minds are kept spinning trying to keep up with it all.
The flurry of the season is awash of get this, do that, run here, get there. But, what’s the point?
As we each lean into this season in the various convictions of the heart, may we not forget the Gift that we have all been given in Christ.
He is the reason for our every day joy. Without Him, even our greatest giving is empty of its deepest potential.
May we take this intentional time as a challenge to freely give to those in need, recognizing the incredible need for love, generosity, kindness, compassion, and brotherly love that is in this world.
Let it not end with this portion of the year, but perpetuate ALL year long.
And, may I never forget this lesson about the value that a small gift can have in the life of another.