On Giving And Receiving

There has never been such a time in life as this when I am so in need of help from others.  It’s an extremely humbling place to be and, oddly, a very gratifying one.  I’ve had a friend randomly stop by to help me finish stringing my Christmas lights.  Another friend dropped of a large jar of homemade laundry detergent when I simply asked for a cup so I could try it out on my cloth diapers.  My father-in-law has come over dozens of times to build me an outdoor clothesline, hang my hammock, fix my tub drain and the like.  My mother-in-law has picked up and dropped off groceries at times when I couldn’t squeeze out of the house due to naptime restrictions, purchased new clothes the next day at the mere mention of needing a few more things, and the like.  We’ve had godparents travel from Illinois and Colorado just to make sure they are at Maisy’s dedication (and they brought gifts).  We are so undeserving of such a loving and supportive community!  Sure, getting the most delicious homemade lemon cheesecake in the world brought to your front door is incredible, you have no idea, but it’s the heart of these friends that is the most incredible.  Friends and family have been so giving of their time, money and resources.  In a way I feel like I will never be able to give back what I’ve been given, but I do feel empowered and inspired to be that gift to others.

Through this whole experience I’ve also learned that it is a gift to accept the generosity of others.  There are so many friends that not only willingly gave of themselves for us but they wholeheartedly pursued giving to us.  That being said, I could have made it a lot easier on some friends by offering up ways they could help more readily.  Especially because there have been several times now that I’ve pursued lending a helping hand or gifting a home cooked meal to someone else and haven’t been able to coax from them practical means to do so.  Sure, people can help unaided, but it’s much easier to know any food allergies or if they actually need a essentials like toilet paper before showing up at their house with such surprises.

In the end, let’s say this is a challenge to give and receive – give someone the gift of meeting a need and if someone wants to help let them.

Sunday Challenge | Radical Generosity

But it surely isn’t Sunday already?!

Nope. But today is my last blog post of the week so I want to leave you friends with a simple, but very important challenge.

I worked for Starbucks from October 2009 to December 2010. Shortly after I started I had observed a peculiar influx of customers with trepidation. Sunday mornings brought in a downright nasty and stingy crowd of customers. And I quickly learned that Sunday mornings were the loathed working slot to all of my co-workers.

Every Sunday following my first observation of this particularly rude, impatient, and frugal bunch of customers I asked my co-worker John why we had such mean people on Sunday mornings. His reply pointed out that they were actually the church crowd. My heart shattered.

I defended my fellow believers but faltered quickly. Our busy time intervals matched up too perfectly (8-9am, 10-11am, noon-1:30pm), these customers in drive-thru were groups of families mostly, and we were the closest Starbucks to the mega church up the road.

In that moment it became glaringly clear that establishments that serve coffee and brunch are keenly aware that the customers they receive at these peculiar intervals on a Sunday morning call themselves Christians. That being said, shouldn’t we be the most loving, giving, and patient customers they receive all week?

Truth be told, I was one of only a few Christians working at that Starbucks at the time. Most of my co-workers held very negative views of Christians and one was even agnostic. My heart longed to lead them to Christ, but after experiencing the reality of a Sunday morning at Starbucks I felt like my presence and love would never be enough to bridge the gap.

So, to all you dear Jesus loving friends, I challenge you to be particularly generous, patient, and loving on your Sunday mornings. Let’s start with this one.

SUNDAY CHALLENGE radical generosity – tip you’re barista or waitress outrageously well.