Yesterday I was on a rampage to complete a lot of outdoor chores. As always, I stepped out armed with my bluetooth headset, listening to some beautiful praise and worship gospel music. I usually walk as if I am in a perpetual trance. So, I headed towards the main gate where suddenly I realized one of the housekeeping staff for the apartment complex was trying to grab my attention from afar. I removed the ear insert from one ear and noticed she was smiling and pointing at her sari, trying to convey that she really liked the one we got her for Christmas. Our society has a total of 3 housekeeping staff. This Christmas, we got them one sari each. All three saris were purchased from the same store; they were bought at the same price. The material also was the same. They all had this Madras checks kind of print. The only difference was each sari had a different colour combination and the checks were either smaller or larger. When I handed out the gifts just a little before Christmas, I had already decided whom to give which colour. That is exactly what I ended up doing.
I usually always smile at the other two staff. I have just had more interactions with them for some reason. I don’t always acknowledge this one though. I really never had anything against her. But when I was deciding on who gets which colour and so forth, I prioritized the other two women. It really wouldn’t matter if any of them thanked me or not. It wouldn’t change anything for me or what I intend doing next Christmas. I’ll still gift them all next year. It will be something of equal value, something similar. I will still be waiting for next Christmas, for the time(season) to be right. But, you know what? I’m going to select the best variant/colour for this particular lady. Well, it’s not like the other two were indifferent. All three of them gracefully received their individual packets and thanked me at that moment itself. All of them smile at me or acknowledge my presence when they see me around. But this lady….well, she made sure to tell me that she liked what she received.
Let me narrate another incident. My maid really looks forward to festivals. Every Diwali, her husband gets her new clothes. But few years ago, I was chatting with her and asked her what she was going to wear for Diwali the next day and she got a bit sad saying her husband did not really get her anything new. So before she left that day, I handed over a kurta I was saving for Christmas. I told her I was early with my Christmas shopping that year and that was what I had intended getting her for Christmas anyway and that she could just have it earlier instead. To that, she initially hesitated saying that it would not be right and told me not to worry about it. Well, she finally agreed and took the piece home that day. You see, my maid usually accepts things very gracefully. She is more of a friend to me and we share a very good rapport and understanding. Then, when Christmas arrived, she wasn’t really expecting more outfits, but I gave her another anyway. You see I gave her something before the right time(season). And then even though it was unexpected, I gave her some more later.
Another year, I gave her x amount of cash as a Christmas bonus. Her countenance seemed rather disappointed. But she did not say a word. In fact, she continued to do all her jobs just as before. She did not give me uncomfortable disgusted vibes everyday. I did shatter her expectation, you know. After a few days, I went to to my mom’s place in another city to attend a marriage. My husband fell sick in Chennai and she helped around just as she would have. The amount I gave her disappointed her. But she did not let it affect her work and as always, she behaved like a sweetheart. What do you think we did? My husband gave her some more cash saying that was the balance bonus amount.
Now let us consider all these three situations. In the first case, all three were happy and thankful to receive. None of them knew what was in the package I handed out. They graceful accepted it and opened it sometime away from me, of course. When this one particular lady made an effort to tell me that she really liked what was in the package, she made me feel happy about the effort and thought I put into selecting that present. I am not a generous person at all. I’m not a giver; I’m a receiver 😉 But now, knowing that she liked it made me happy. I’ll put in more thought in their gifts next Christmas. I definitely won’t lower the bar now because I want to see that joy again next year. Although, the value will be the same, I will probably hand out the best variant/colour to this lady, right? Like I mentioned earlier, I had the least interactions with this lady. But she broke the ice. We’ll probably be having more communication. In the second instance, we see I gave her the gift even before the time was right because of her gracefulness. I am a horrible human being; I’m not a giver. Still, selfish as I am, I wasn’t trying to balance the scales. She received double, because she received gracefully. Scriptures tell us that there is a season for everything – a time for sowing and a time for reaping. You may not be due for harvest for a very long time, but your faith combined with a heart of gratitude can probably change the season you are in. In the third case, the lady did not let her expectation and disappointment alter her relationship/commitment. Her work was unaffected. She did not whine or argue about what she received and continued to do her work faithfully. And she received more than what she initially expected, just a few days later.
I am just a selfish human being. My heart is rather small and my resources are limited. These are rare instances of me giving. I am usually the receiver. Imagine thanking God, who is just waiting to hear from you about aaaaaaaanything. Imagine how joyful He must get when you thank Him for His efforts and thoughts. Imagine how eager He is to shower you with more. It is easier to understand when you place yourself on the other side of the fence. When you place yourself in the giver’s position, you’ll probably agree with me that it is absolutely fair to be thanking and praising God for all His love and mercies that He so generously immeasurably pours out on us every second of every day. Heck, the fact that you have functional lungs or a heart itself is reason enough to thank God. You may not have luxury or even comfort or just the basics. That sure is tough, I agree. But, attempt. Look at what you do have! Scavenge for reasons to be thankful. If you have health; thank God for it. If all you have is love and fresh air, thank God for it. If you don’t have health or family, and money is all you have…well, thank God for your prosperity. If you don’t have health, wealth, family or love, but you have sleep; and as you lay your head to rest on the most uncomfortable rock-of-a-bed, you cannot complain of insomnia, depression or the demons that crawl into many heads at night, you just have to be thankful about peace then. There will always be a reason to thank God. Maybe it’s your job, your talents, your creativity, your beauty, your ability to read/write, sit/stand. There is a plethora of things you can be thankful for. Don’t whine and sulk about what you would have liked or what you have not received. Thank your creator for all you have received, good and bad. In fact, take a step ahead and thank Him for what you will be receiving….as a token of your faith. And watch those mountains tremble and disappear.
Give thanks with a grateful; give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks ...because He's given Jesus Christ His son. ...because of what the Lord has done for us!