Well-Deserved?

As most of my readers know, our family has been struggling with financial troubles over the past few years.  Needless to say, we were a little concerned that we wouldn’t  even be able to afford Christmas presents for our boys this year.  In addition, as the holidays approached, we were in danger of having our power turned off.

Then the week before Christmas we had 3 pleasant surprises.  First, we received a check from a class action lawsuit – just enough to pay our utility bill.  Next I found out I had won an Amex gift card in an online giveaway.  Finally, Art’s parents sent us a Walmart giftcard to cover Christmas food and beverages.  Now we were set for groceries, gas and a few Christmas presents.

Art and I agreed not to buy each other presents.  We got excited about picking out a few gifts we thought the boys would really appreciate – they both got electric blankets and two other small gifts.  I found some special deals on gift cards and baked furiously so we would have gifts for our parents.  Finally, on Christmas Eve night, we looked happily at the tiny pile of gifts under the tree and breathed sighs of relief.

Christmas morning went as expected – everyone was pleasantly surprised by what they received.  The boys had picked out some very thoughtful gifts for us as well.  That afternoon, Art’s parents came over for dinner, which in our house is cold cuts, cheese, rolls, crackers, and various snacky items.

Afterwards, we had the second round of present-opening.  I did not expect that Art and I would have any presents to open as Art’s parents had been helping us out financially for the past few months and we all were in agreement that it was most important for Bud and Boo to have a good Christmas. But as the gifts were distributed, everyone had one box to open.  I was directed to open mine last.

Imagine my shock when on ripping open the paper I saw a netbook!  I was completely tongue-tied.  It took me a minute just to be able to blurt out an intelligible “thank you” to my in-laws.  Bobbie said later she could tell by the look on my face it was a complete surprise.  It turned out when Art found out his parents were insistent on buying us presents, he told them not to buy him anything but a bottle of Jack and to take the rest of the money they would have spent on him to buy me a really nice gift.  My old computer is a desktop in the middle of the family room.  I share this space with both boys and their computers, plus their friends and the occasional dog. Art knew I needed a computer I could move around with me; taking it into the bedroom or to the library so I could be alone with my thoughts and  work on my blog.

After the in-laws left, I lost it.  I loved the gift, but I couldn’t justify it in my head.  I didn’t deserve all that sacrifice.  I told Art how I was feeling and he told me he and his parents wanted to give me the computer.  I realized that it wasn’t about whether or not I thought I deserved the gift.  It was about the gift freely given.  I was reminded that none of us deserve salvation either – yet there it is – freely given, as it says in Romans 3:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Just as I try to daily honor God’s gift in the way I live, I will also try to honor my Christmas gift by using it to the best of my abilities to write a successful blog.

As always, thank you for being part of the journey.

A Giving Heart

This  month I am participating in Deepak Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge.  It’s free to join at https://www.chopracentermeditation.com/bestsellers/meditation_summer/register.asp.  The meditation for today was on Giving.  In the visualization, the leader suggested that we think of a tangible object that means everything to us.  I could really only think of one thing – my house key.  I know it sounds silly – not my wedding ring, not pictures of my family – my house key.  But to me, having my own key has always meant that I belong – that I am someone.  And now that we are in imminent danger of losing our house, I suppose that key means even more.

In the next part of the visualization, the leader suggested that we give our object to someone who we love dearly.   I realized that in handing over the key to my house, I was also handing over the key to my heart.  And since the person I love dearly is my husband, I knew that he would always let me in, even if I didn’t have the key.

All this reminded me of a song I learned a long time ago.   The Magic Penny:

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And it’s true – love is something if you give it away, you end up having more.

Who can you give love to today?