Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Christmas Eve Reflection

Dear Christa—
I’m glad that I’m married to a generous man. So was my mother. I remember her saying once that she was glad that she’d been married to a generous man even if he would bring home “any old drunk to sleep on the couch” in his younger days.
At Walmart on Christmas Eve, Callie and I were perusing the beads when a woman approached Jay about needing money. I don’t know what she said, but I heard Jay’s voice, “If you’re hungry, I’ll buy you a meal.” Then, off they headed toward the Subway near the front of the store with 5-year-old Elliott skipping next to him.
I think it’s easier to be generous these days than when we first began teaching in a Christian school with four little children of our own; although, I did hear once that the most generous people, compared to what they make, are the working poor. I don’t think we were that generous though.
Maybe it was because my mother paid the bills when I was growing up or it was a way to relieve Jay of one more thing to do during the years that he worked so many hours so that I could stay home with the babies, but I’ve always handled our finances, though “handling our finances” mostly has meant making sure the monthly bills get paid.
But, there was a time—many years back—that I began to think that I should not be quite so calculating when it came to special offerings. Jay always would say, “What do you think we can give?” and I would respond with an answer. So, instead, I began to respond with “whatever you think.” It has been interesting that most of the time he says exactly what I would have said, but on occasion, I’ve been a little taken aback, but I’ve always just written the check. Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t that we give away loads of money; we’re very much like everyone else. It was just a perspective shift.
I want to be a generous person. For me, I think being generous is tied into being grateful. We have so much more than what I ever thought we would. And, I’m glad that I’m married to a generous man.
As Elliott and I stood in line to purchase our beads, a box of Texas grapefruit, and various other things we’d tossed in the cart, I said to her: “Did you and grandpa buy that lady some food?” And she replied in her very dramatic Elliott way: “Yes, she was REALLY, REALLY hungry, so we just buy her some food…I’m really hungry too.”

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