Monday, December 3, 2012

Receiving Gifts

Several years ago, my family was driving up to St. George from Las Vegas. We realized as we started out on our journey that we needed some snacks.  Our kids were young and hey, who doesn't need a good snack for a long car drive?  We stopped at the closest gas station we could find, which ended up being in the middle of the rough part of Vegas. It didn't really bother me as it looked a lot like the neighborhood where I grew up.

After perusing the store, we headed to the register to make our purchase. There was a man standing in front of us who seemed a bit down on his luck. He was dirty and a bit raggedy, but still a nice enough guy.  Out of the blue the man decided that he wanted to purchase our items for us.  What!?! If anything, we should have been buying this guy his stuff, as it looked like he needed it a lot more than we did.  After a little bit of an argument, Rinar acquiesced and let the gentleman pay for our food items, which probably equaled about $8 or so.  Rinar graciously said thank you to the man, and we were on our way.

But that has always stayed with me.  This man really wanted to buy our stuff. He wanted to do something nice. I felt a peace inside of me knowing it was the right thingto do, to just graciously accept the gift he was giving us.  It was so very kind.  It was his choice to give it to us. And I have realized over the years that it was not my place to decide whether he should have the right to give me that gift or not. If I didn't let him help us or do something nice for us, I would have robbed him of that joy. I didn't want to do that to him.

I have felt myself in this situation many times. This has been especially true during my first pregnancy. It was 6 weeks of strict bed rest. The ladies in my ward were so kind and brought us dinner every single night. We were inundated with food and kindness. At first it was hard to accept, but it really helped us. Then with the second twin pregnancy, my Relief Society president in Las Vegas would absolutely not accept a no from me, when she offered to have the Relief Society help me.  I realized I had no choice but to say yes. And once again, I had many loving women come to my house everyday to cheer me, clean for me, hold Eli, whatever. It ended up being quite wonderful.

I have been thinking a lot about this because of an incident that happened a few weeks ago. A kid from our ward stopped by to sell tickets for a school fundraiser. It was a wine and dine thing. He was so embarrassed that he was standing at my door because he didn't realize it was my house.  But I was happy to have him and exuberantly bought a couple of tickets. I knew there were several people from my kids' football team that would love to go.  I was just going to give the tickets to one of them, so everyone wins.

After purchasing the tickets and putting them safely away, I got a call from his mother a few hours later. She absolutely refused to accept my generous gift. I tried to explain to her that it was a pleasure to be able to help in some small way, but she would not hear it.  At the risk of being contentious, I just gave up. I was not allowed that joy of being able to help and contribute.

It kind of ticked me off.

Christmas is the season of giving AND receiving.  When someone gives you a gift, instead of making a judgement...I think the best thing to do is to just say thank you.

Don't rob someone else of the joy of giving. Somebody has to receive and it might as well be you.

I mean, the best gift comes from Jesus and I don't know about the rest of you, but I have chosen to receive His gift gratefully and try to remember to say thank you every chance I get.

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