Where Logic Meets Love

The Joy of Giving

Thursday, December 16, 2010

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The Joy of Giving | Faith Permeating Life
Today I was reminded what a joy it is to give.

It's the one activity that consistently makes me happy -- not just giving, but thoughtful giving -- and yet I often forget. It's one of the reasons I know God has infinite patience, because I will come to him when I hit a low point and ask God to bring more joy into my life. And God is like, "C'mon, Jess, you know this." And as soon as I remember (usually during reflection in church), I always get so excited thinking back to times when I worked to find the perfect gift or surprise someone in a way I knew they wanted.

I also thought today how irrelevant cost is when you're getting a really thoughtful gift for someone. I have four bosses and I got them each a personal gift, ranging from $50 to $0. Actually the $50 gift could technically be $0 too because I bought it with Amazon money I earned from taking surveys. Anyway. One of the gifts I had bought used, in "acceptable" condition even, and yet my boss was absolutely beside herself that I had remembered a comment she made over a year ago about giving away a favorite movie to a friend and never finding another copy. And to be able to do that for her just brightened my whole day.

What surprised me, though, was how much some of the other gifts touched their recipients. For my coworkers, I had baked cookies and wrapped them up in individual packages. I also wrote a little thank-you note in a card for two of my coworkers who had taken on some of my work when I was working from home with mono. Both of them seemed really touched and one even came over to give me a hug. It wasn't that I had been thoughtless about their gifts, but I wasn't expecting such a big reaction. One of my other coworkers got really excited because she loves chocolate-chip cookies. And for one of my bosses, I had taken a guess at something she might like and it turned out to be one of her favorite things. And so while I had just intended to do something nice in the spirit of the season, it ended up affecting people even more than I'd thought, which in turn brought me so much joy!

I really want to give this kind of special gift to Mike this year, but it's more difficult with him. With my boss, this one thing stuck in my head because she rarely talks about something she wants. With Mike, it's not that he's a greedy person or anything, I just live with him and so get to hear every thought that goes through his mind about things he might want to get or thinks are cool or whatever, and he's forgotten about 90% of them by the next day, so unless I write them down, I don't remember. Plus he changes his mind a lot. When we were dating, it seemed easier because could grasp onto small things I learned about him and build gifts or surprises off those, but I realize now that those things were based on an incomplete and not very accurate view of him as a person. Not that I have a complete view of him now, by any means, but I know and understand so many more facets of his personality now that it's easier to see what he wouldn't like, but hard to know exactly what would thrill him.

Anyway, that's my challenge for the next week or two, but I wanted to jot down this reminder that doing nice things for others is a good way to give me a boost. I think I'll try to build this into my happiness project / resolutions for next year.

What kind of thoughtful gifts or surprises have you received? Or given?

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