Friday, November 25, 2005
The Generosity of Children
With Christmas (and mountains of new toys, books, clothes and other 'stuff') around the corner, I decided that today might be a good day to go through some of the kids old toys and see what we could donate to charity. So, laying out an assortment of toys in her room, I called Elizabeth upstairs to think about which ones she might like to give to a little girl who doesn't have any toys.
I was fully expecting her to pick some of the old ratty toys, and reluctantly give them up, with a sad longing expression on her face.
I guess I must have been projecting my own attachment to material goods onto her, because as soon as I mentioned the idea, her eyes lit up, she jumped off the couch and ran upstairs. The first toy she wanted to give me to put in our donation bag was her most favorite and special bear, Cathy. She thought since she loved her so much, then it would be the perfect present to give a little girl who didn't have any toys at all.
I was speechless, and didn't know how to react. I was in total awe at her overwhelming generosity and love for making others happy. In that moment, I understood what John Paul II was talking about when he said that we can only really FIND ourselves, by GIVING ourselves as a gift to others. (a gift meaning expecting nothing in return)
Unfortunately, I still have a lingering attachment to material things and couldn't bear the thought of her being sad later on without Cathy, so I told her she should keep her because she was her favoritest bear and Isabell her mommy would be sad to see her go... and I love Cathy too, because she's become almost a part of our family over the last few years LOL.
Anyways, in the end she had filled the bag (which turned out to be too small for the great, big, generous heart of my little elizabeth), and a big box with toys to donate to little girls who have none.
So all of you gift givers out there: please don't be offended if she happens to donate something that you once gave her, because the amount of joy it brings to her to give them away is like the joy she gives to us when she opens her presents and squeals with delight like only she can do.
Now I wonder what sort of things I can come up with of my own to put in that donation box? She really is a gift to us isn't she?
p.s. Zachariah is quickly following in her footsteps, because last month when we went to a birthday party for elizabeth's little friend, he really wanted to give her one of his favorite trains for a present :-)