Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily. And God can give you more blessings than you need. Then you will always have plenty of everything—enough to give to every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 NCV
Giving money is a great way to help and show gratitude for what God has given to us, but there are other ways to give. I’ve noticed that, since I started a mindful practice, everywhere I go, there are countless opportunities to give. Sometimes, giving someone a moment of your time means more than anything else.
In the past few weeks, I have had interactions that can only be explained through divine appointments. I recently had to replace a pair of boots. When I was pulling a box off the shelf at the store in the mall, a woman came up to me and started asking questions about all of the boots on display. She went on about her dilemma trying to balance quality with cost and meet the demanding requirements of her teenage daughter. I politely asked if she knew I was a fellow shopper and not an employee that could speak to the products. She said, “Oh no. I didn’t think you were an employee. I was just hoping you’d be a sounding board.” We talked for at least another fifteen minutes about the challenges of being parents in a fickle world. I told her about the other five places I had already searched for a pair of shoes because I was facing a similar situation to balance cost with quality and comfort. Though everyone around us seemed to be moving at lightening speed to get Christmas shopping done, we were talking as though nothing was happening around us. Time stood still. There was no hustle and bustle. There were no curt responses. There were no references to being in a hurry or being busy or needing to cut anything short to rush on to the next engagement. It was as in the moment as it gets.
Interestingly, only minutes after this interaction, I walked down the aisle to get to a mirror. Two employees were chatting around the corner. Without realizing I was there, a very sensitive and derogatory racist comment slipped off the tongue. As I did a spin to look at the back of my boots, she saw me, looked down at the ground, and walked briskly in the other direction. After just having a delightful conversation with a complete stranger, I was in a position to make a choice. Would I see this new stranger in the same way? Obviously, she had a dilemma, too. But the dilemma wasn’t going to be solved with a 15-minute dialogue focused on fixing the problem. No, this woman didn’t need my experience raising a teenager or advice on what stores to peruse for the best boot deals. She needed forgiveness and grace. And this is what I had to give because God freely gave it to me.
When I went to the cash register, there was no opportunity to take off in the opposite direction. We exchanged pleasantries. She wouldn’t look me in the eye, but I continued to smile and thanked her for making sure both of my boots were the correct matching size. I tried to lighten the interaction by joking that, if the boots were different sizes after I wore both of them in the store, then I better be checking my feet, too. She laughed, and we finally made eye contact. She asked me how I was doing, and after telling her I was having an enjoyable evening, I asked her if everything was all right on her end. She provided a positive response, totaled my order, and charged me $20 less for my boots.
From this experience, I learned there are many ways to let go and give more. We might jump to the conclusion that giving equates to formal volunteering activities or making charitable donations, but impromptu giving of our time, a sincere compliment, a sympathetic ear, the gifts of forgiveness, mercy, and grace are equally important. How will you let go and give more today?
©Room2GrowGarden.com, December 7, 2018