'Tis the [Gifting] Season: "The Godiva Shoe"

Pfffff. I let out a sigh while in pursuit of the shortest line to check out at Giant. Why are these lines always so long?! I say to myself as I’m rubbing my pregnant belly and parking my cart behind an elderly man.

After some time, the cashier begins to ring up the elderly man. “The total is $50.17, sir,” the cashier says. The man hands her his card. When she swipes it, the screen reads an error message. “I’m sorry, sir,” she says. “It seems like the card doesn’t have enough funds to cover your purchase. Would you like to use another card?”

“That’s the only card I got, and it was just loaded this morning. Please try it again.”

She swipes again, and again the error message pops up.

“It’s ok, sir. We can just remove some items from your cart to bring the cost down to what is available on the card,” the cashier recommends.

The man replies sadly, "But this is everything my wife needs to prepare the meal for our kids who are visiting this week." The cashier looks at him with sympathy and says, "I'm truly sorry, sir. You can either use another card or pay the balance in cash." The man shakes his head and starts to look through the bags in the cart to see what he’s going to remove.

I feel a sudden tug in my gut. I have flashbacks of my mother working 16 hour shifts to provide food on the table each day. I remember hearing her cry and pray alone in her room when she knew we didn’t have enough to make ends meet after my father left. I remember the people who lent a helping hand. They were like angels sent at the perfect time. And I heard my mother’s voice telling me one hot summer day as she was taking me to school, “I’m willing to sacrifice it all today so that one day you will have enough and more to give back to others.”

I step up to the cashier and hand her my debit card. "Please charge the remaining balance here. It's on me." The elderly man looks at me and says, a "Oh, no, ma'am, You don't have to do that."

I reply, "Yes, I do. It's an honor to be able to do for someone what someone else did for me. Please don't take that opportunity away from me." He smiles, wipes what seems to be a tear from his left eye, and says, "God bless you and the little one you're carrying. You don't know what you've done for my family today."

I can’t even begin to describe how much that moment strengthened me. I was so tired from running errands all day, and a 3 minute opportunity was all I needed to be reminded me of what truly matters in life!

Can you remember the last time you went out of your way to help someone? And I mean genuinely help someone? Not because you felt you had to, but because you sincerely wanted to do something good?

There is so much power in our ability to give back to others.

When we think of giving, the default image that comes to mind is money. And rightfully so! I mean, truthfully, it’s so much easier to give someone cash or write a check and mark off the checkbox “I did my civil duty today.” But, oh how hard it is to have to give others our time, our energy, our attention, and even our love. These things require us to give ourselves up as we put others before ourselves - and sometimes that’s the hardest thing for us to do.

So, as we approach Christmas, I want you to take some time and think about a positive moment in which you gave back - whether it was a smile or a kiss that made someone’s day, a note that reminded someone of how special they are, or buying lunch for the homeless. Whatever your moment was, how did you feel afterwards? Did something spark inside of you? Did you a get a “good” feeling in your gut? The answer is probably "yes." And that’s because giving reminds us that we have purpose. It gives us the opportunity to change someone’s world. It trades monotony for spontaneity and brings a fresh perspective to our day. Giving brings life and revives us!

This holiday season, give back. And do it genuinely. Give back to your family, friends, loved ones, and enjoy every moment. This time around, pay attention to the details, lend a listening ear, offer a crying shoulder, don’t be afraid to embrace and whisper “I love you.” After all, if you’re here, it’s because someone gave you the gift of life. So, live it purposely and live it well.  

Each post is named after a fictitious pair of shoes. This post is named "Godiva," which means "God's gift."