This is the second post in a series about choosing to live the moments we are given wholeheartedly, remembering that life is short.
It sounded like a helicopter landing on our van. Robert bumped off to the side of the road to change our very flat tire.
Since we had two families coming over for lunch after church, I set to thumbing a ride from a friend. My daughter squeezed into a car with the St.-Hilaires, then my son and I into another, and we left Daddy by the side of the road.
Twenty minutes later, he arrived home in a BMW.
“Thief-deterrent lug. No lug wrench,” he said, hoping it would turn up somewhere in our garage. It did not.
We served lunch to our friends and enjoyed an afternoon of conversation and kids stampeding around before it occurred to us again that we ought to return to the scene of the deflated tire before dark.
It was ten miles away, and we are a one-car family. “Would one of you be able to give us a ride?” we asked our friends.
“Absolutely,” offered Jason and Becky. They are a one-car family too. It was the witching hour, for little children, of which they also have two.
A Saturday night spent shuttling friends to a lonely dark road, buying us new lug nuts, returning to ferry exhausted little ones back home, and all with a, “Hey, no problem! We had nothing to do tonight anyway.” Which of course could not be true.
Would I have been so gracious, had the roles been reversed?
It turned out we needed to work on the lug in the daylight, at home, preferably. While waiting in the car for a tow truck, Robert posted about the woes of thief-deterrent lugs on Facebook. An old friend wrote: Sorry about this! Are you guys all home safe? Hubby says pound 12 point socket, 1/2 inch drive onto it, twist and it will pull off. Been there, annoying! Okay, if not, hubby will come help you!
Hubby ended up coming and helping us. He drove twenty minutes from his home in the middle of a Sunday morning when he was set to work the night shift to help us pop off the recalcitrant lug.
“No worries,” he said, handing Robert the 12 point socket. “Don’t pay us back. People have been so generous in the past, giving us things we needed, helping us out. We’re glad to do something like this.”
We thanked them profusely, a bit awkwardly. Receiving generosity can feel uncomfortable. With both sets of friends, I kept thinking, would I have done the same thing in return, with the same spirit? Weekend time is so precious, and there is so much to do…
I’m not very practiced in giving when I don’t know if I’ll get anything in return, giving when it’s a sacrifice to me. Yet the Proverb-writer says, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped,” Pr. 11:25.
And perhaps the sweetest part is that we stumble into a way of living that echoes infinitely more of heaven. Living with open arms, and an open heart gives up the constipated posture of holding tight to our own plans and provisions.
We turn, instead, toward a Kingdom that is defined by Abundance, a Kingdom where we trust that we will be blessed, where in blessing we are blessed, where helping generates help.
And as we’re talking about remembering that life is short, that we want to live these precious hours wholeheartedly, Generosity is a very important guest at the table. I would love it if my epitaph read: Sarah Fusté, A Generous Girl Who Blessed Others.
How about you? Do people know you as a generous person? Do you give even when giving is a sacrifice to you?