November 18, 2015
Dear Fellow Travelers,
Today my life-walk took me several hours away to spend time with my 87-year-old aunt and accompany her to a doctor’s appointment. She stands about 5 feet tall but can add a few inches when she gets her hair done. She still has some life-fire in her belly and that white hair (poofy or not) only accentuates her twinkling blue eyes. She shared with me that when we are together over the holidays, she wants to have her obituary picture taken. She wants to be sure to have an up-to-date picture, just in case.
So per her request, we will set up a backdrop and place her in front of it. We will take her picture that she will one day use for her obituary. ( When you are stringing popcorn and singing carols around the tree, think of me. Please.) She is living life, but preparing for death. I love it! She is slowing down physically but not mentally. Spending time with her reminds me that life, even though slower, can still be fun and should be embraced.
Before leaving her room in an assisted living facility, she showed me a card she had received with a tightly folded $50.00 bill inside but no signature. Someone simply had signed: “happy thanksgiving“.
Now this is the second time she has received a mysterious gift of money. I jokingly comment that she must have a secret admirer. A wealthy secret admirer, which is the best kind of admirer to have. But my aunt is very perplexed. She wants to know who is doing this; who is sending her money? She has spent time comparing the handwriting on both cards and she has wracked her brain as to who could and would do this. Most of her friends are elderly and live on very limited incomes. So she has no answers. This is a pickle. I encourage her to count it as a blessing from God. He is looking out for her.
But this bugs her. She really, really wants to know who is the anonymous money giver. Why? So she can thank this person. That is how it works. When we are given a gift, we are to say “thank you” (at least in the world of manners).
Gift = Thank You
She wants to show her appreciation and it frustrates her that she can’t. But she can’t. It is just unmerited generosity. This gift is from someone who wants to be anonymous. They want to bless her and do not want any fanfare from it.
Just accept it. It is a gift in the truest, purest sense.
Why is unmerited generosity so hard to receive?
Last weekend, I found a small, white envelope in my mailbox and rammed into my big, messy purse. I will open that later. The day went by. I was busy with shopping, lunch, football, raking leaves and life. Finally at the end of the long day, I looked in my purse and saw the small, white envelope. Oh, I forgot I put that in there. I didn’t recognize the handwriting but opened it and found cash. Twenties. Twelve twenties to be exact: $240.00. Wow! No signature, no clue who it was from. Just a sentence stating the intent for this gift: to use it for a ministry that provides new sneakers for children in need. How kind!
But who sent this gift and why would someone give cash? I can’t thank them and gush over them! I can’t send them the official thank you on the ministry’s letterhead for their tax purposes! I can’t send them a Christmas card from the ministry! What if I walk past them at church and don’t even acknowledge them? What if it is a relative that I don’t bother to send a Christmas card to this year? What if it is from one of my friends? A generous gift like this calls for a response. But I can’t do anything. I have to just accept it. I understand the frustration that my aunt is feeling. Just accept it. That is how this person wanted it.
Matthew 6: 3,4 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Even though I can’t thank the person the way I want to or the way I feel like I am suppose to, I can thank The One who made all of this possible. I can say “thank you” to God for keeping the shelves stocked with sneakers for the local children in need. I can say “thank you ” to God for blessing my aunt. I don’t need to know “who” gave because He knows. He knows and He will do the rewarding.