The amount I had remaining on my Starbucks giftcard was exactly the amount that my drink cost today.
Seriously, when does that happen, when you have a giftcard and don't owe money and don't have money remaining?
This reminds me of how my grandmother would give me giftcards that included the tax in them. Which is genius, because inevitably one has to spend some kind of money on tax when using a $5, $10, $25 etc giftcard. My grandmother was one of the most thoughtful people I've ever known when it came to things like that. She knew that I didn't like nuts, and whenever she made a recipe with nuts (brownies, elk salad, etc), she would save a special portion without nuts for me to enjoy, and chide others who tried to eat the non-nut section that was saved specially for me. Most of the time this was great, but sometimes it obligated me to eat foods that I don't like. How can I tell my grandmother that I don't like jello salad when there's a special small container of jello salad without nuts made just for me? At least I can tolerate bad food without nuts making them completely unbearable.
It's hard to believe that it's been three years now since she died. Since that time, I've come to tolerate and even sometimes enjoy more nuts in more recipes, without the woman who remembers my preferences. Three years sounds like such a long time, but it doesn't feel like she's been gone three years. Not that the pain of losing her feels fresh at all, but it doesn't feel like she's been out of my life that long, and I think this is a good thing. The woman who kept nuts away from me feels like a recent presence in my life, not someone who is far away in my past. I want to model her thoughtfulness in my life, in my relationships with others. In the gifts I give, in the words I say, in the questions I ask, in the concern I display. In the ways I use my time, money, possessions, words, and gifts. I want to give to others in a variety of ways, and I want to do it thoughtfully, not scattering out kindness haphazardly, assuming that all kindnesses are the same or that the things that mean the most to mean will also be meaningful to others, but really seeking to know those that I am called to love and giving to them thoughtfully.
And for those of you who know me as friends and family, as brothers and sisters, I'd appreciate help in this endeavor. If I do or say something toward you or another that isn't kind, or that just isn't as thoughtful as it could be, I'd appreciate the feedback. If you ever feel hurt or dismissed or underappreciated by me, then maybe you're right to assume that I didn't mean it that way, but it doesn't mean that you have to ignore it. I tend to have a rather kind nature, which is great, but it also could make it easy for me to become complacent and to not think about my need to strive to be more giving, more loving, more sacrificial, in the ways that Christ has modeled for me, in the ways that the Spirit enables me to be.
Wow, all that from a Starbucks receipt? She does move in mysterious ways.