This photo is clearly not frame worthy….but it is a blurry, “squint and maybe you can see it” visual of of our morning. We have set up a sleeping bag on the hard wood floor in our bedroom for Alex. On nights when our eldest has a bad dream, he can come in, not tell us the whole scenario (had to train him that a full rundown at 3:30am is not necessary), and sleep in our room.
This morning I awoke to a lot of zipper pulling, swishing of blankets and hard palm pounding on the floor. I came to enough to realize that Alex was rearranging things to make two beds and was pounding the floor “calling” Sally, our dog, to join him.
Things quieted enough that I was drifting back to sleep when suddenly a pack of raisins was thrust in my face. “Mom? I was hungry. And I thought you might be hungry too. So I brought you a box of raisins!”
And despite the early hour and my accompanying grumpiness, one can’t help but smile. I mean, who doesn’t want to be offered raisins at 5:45am? Breakfast in bed, 4 year old style.
Sharing and giving doesn’t come easily to Alex all the time. So we are working it out, talking every morning on the way to school about it, trying to get it right. Failure is always an option, and typically a reality, but I see progress.
We ask so much of our kids, though. I remember running class meetings with my 4th grade students and thinking, “How do they have the guts to talk about their feelings….real, deep hurts and insecurities in front of 30 other peers???”. Tough stuff. I ask Alex to share. And yet, it is tough to do the same. I hold, hoard, fear and grasp and rarely try giving first.
I am not even talking about the big S version of sharing. Not giving thousands of dollars. Just even sharing in the smaller ways. And doing so with pure intentions. It is just, plain, tough. And cheerfully? Without reluctance or under compulsion?
‘Each of you must give as you have made up your mind,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.’
(2 Corinthians 9:7 NRSV)
I am not writing this post because I get sharing. Only as a way to say to myself, “How am I doing at this?! Is my own four year old schooling me in the ways of abundant open handedness?”. I have read enough examples and seen in my own life the ways we grow and are changed by having open hands. By sharing and giving.
I guess it comes down to forgetting a simpler truth. The Truth and Reality that it isn’t mine to begin with. None of it is. Not even my family. The money we receive from work. The car we “own”. The furniture. The jammed to the brim closets with outfits for days. Our time. Our forgiveness. Our gratitude. Our understanding. Even the boxes of raisins.
So, as I seek to think through this reality….my own tight grasp on stuff…..I am going to take the example of a four year old. Maybe it is time to split up our bedding, share with the family dog, give a box of raisins. Just act on it. I have heard time and time again that habits take a long time to form. Repetition to the gills. Maybe it’s time for a give festival?!?
Drew, as you can see, is giving in his own way….doing his own stunts, as the shirt proclaims. Sooooooo giving….one year old “stunts”. Haha. There aren’t age or salary requirements, though. It is a call to share of what we’ve been given. Period.
Let’s look out. Outside our comfort. And look beyond ourselves.
And then find folks who are willing to call us on it when we start to look “Grinchy” like this….
(I have a great camera, and yet sometimes, the moment strikes to take a photo when it’s not nearby. iPAD to the rescue. As you can see, it’s not the greatest quality….but it’ll do in a pinch!)