As some of you know we are struggling a bit around here. Our last 2 dogs died within weeks of each other. Heath is off for the winter season, business is slow and due to last year’s slow times his unemployment is beyond negligible. That along with the losses we’ve experienced has made for a hard winter so far and yet…
We were selling our old tank 1984 AMC Eagle tonight because we need a truck to increase Heath’s business. Our neighbor is giving us a fabulous deal on a Ford Ranger and letting us be creative with payment. I speak to the buyer dude who is coming to get the car and he tells me briefly and non-manipulatively about a series of unfortunate events that have happened lately to he and his small son. People do that kind if disclosure to me on a regular basis. You can surrender the license and change the career but the therapist nature never goes away I guess.
Anyway, in those few moments of conversation I have the strongest impulse and not from pity either, to give him the car. Free. In the next moment I’m caught in a struggle of our own survival needs and this odd insistent compulsion to give him our car or something, anything. The compulsion is quickly beaten to death by my fears of scarcity. I tell it firmly to shut the hell up and proceed to spend a couple of hours of surfing dog pictures on petfinder.com (and no we are NOT in the market for a new dog!) until his arrival.
I let Heath handle the biz and the guy leaves still owing us $150.00 on the car that Heath agreed to wait a week for him to pay. The compulsion comes back whispering…”So ok giving him the car was too much…but you could let him off on the $150.00″. I ignore it. I look at Heath who is looking at me. Saying nothing I go back to my office/junk room to fiddle around on the computer. I’m still thinking…”let him have it for $700.00. Sure we need it too but c’mon…”
A few minutes later Heath comes in to the office which he rarely does when I’m working on my laptop, which he calls my “Nerdbox”. He says quietly, “I kinda just want to give the guy a break and not charge him that $150.00.” I look at him startled and say “Me, too! I totally wanted to just give him the car but we could let him just take it for what he could pay and mail the title.”
We get super excited like little kids and rush to call the guy. I can hear him on the phone and his surprised relief is palpable in his voice. I can’t hear his words but Heath says he went on with the “are you sures? and you have no idea how much this helps me, etc.”
It’s the first moments of heart rushing happiness I’ve had since before Thanksgiving and the first tears I’ve shed that came from something good instead of another heartbreaking loss. I needed that feeling so much more than we needed that remaining amount of money.
We’ll find the money we need for the truck somewhere, somehow we always get by but we can’t find joy like that just anywhere. It’s fleeting and precious and because we both were having the same impulse it was extra joyous to act on it and share the gratitude that we could pay forward a little bit of the goodness we frequently receive.
We didn’t give a small gift to a stranger tonight. We, especially me (I?), received a large gift that was sorely needed. It sounds so small but to me it was major. I needed to know that The Great Who/Whatever still speaks to me and through me and will tell me clearly when there is an action needing to be taken. I needed to shake off some of the inherent myopic vision induced by deep grieving that blinds me to other people’s struggles because I can get so lost in my own. For awhile now I can feel like I won the lottery!
I’ve had many opportunities like this in my life and I hope that my readers have too. Once I was able to give a free car to a single dad with 2 boys who really needed it and that is still such a cherished memory. I’ll take what I can get although I prefer anonymous gift giving and I do it whenever I can, it’s so fun.
I like to, when I’m able, buy a gift card at Starbuck’s or whatever horrid fast food place I’m in and have the cashier hand it to the next person in the drive thru window. I like leaving change by the toy machines at stores. I always feed the parking meters next to me because you never know when you’re going to delayed or mugged and come back to find your meter expired and a fantasterrific ticket stuck under your windshield.
It never gets old, these little gifts. I was totally jealous of whoever it was running around paying off people’s layaway bills! I really want that paying off person to be us next Christmas!
Moments when you follow the Great Whoever’s instructions are hands down the best moments in life. Remember that the next time you get an impulse to hand someone a little something or to do a little hit and run gift giving. Do it…you won’t regret it.