Last week, I had the oddest, most amazing, most humbling thing happen. I've been trying to figure out how to blog about it, but that means I have to figure out how I feel about it. And that's the difficult part. Now that I've mostly recovered from the flu, I want to do this experience justice and document the array of emotions and lessons this event drew me through.
A benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me last week that s/he wanted to make a donation to pay off some of my plumbing/water heater bills. This took me by such complete surprise, I was literally breathless. I didn't know what to say. I was touched and honored, but my first reaction was to refuse. I told this friend how amazing the offer was, but that there were people in much needier situations and I would be so happy to have the money go to someone in true need. After assuring me that s/he donated to some very needy causes, it was made clear that this wasn't something that I would be allowed to easily refuse. And so, with as much grace as I could muster, I accepted the gift.
And here's where the emotions get tricky. There is no question that this financial act of kindness is needed - I am literally more relaxed because this makes my budget infinitely less scary. But to accept this gift means I'm admitting need. I find that to be incredibly humbling. Why is it so very easy to give to others, in large and small ways, but so very hard to graciously accept a kindness that comes our way? It has gotten me thinking about the bravery it must take for a parent to step into a food pantry and ask for help in putting food on the table. Or how hard it must be to maintain a sense of self-worth when public assistance is the only thing keeping a roof over your family's heads. To be a receiver of kindness and charity is overwhelming and humbling.
I don't know that I can every fully express the depth of gratitude I have for this incredible kindness. I hope my benefactor can know the joy their gift brought to my life. I hope they experience that joy 10-fold. I do know that I will strive to honor the kindness by paying it forward every opportunity I get. And I will never forget the courage it takes to accept kindness, whatever form it comes in.