My Lesson In Generosity

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I recently learned an important lesson from my 2-year old son. It was Little Man’s birthday and we had invited my parents and grandparents over to celebrate. He is two years old. How did this happen? Two years gone by seems like a few weeks. Two years ago this time I was great with child, with anticipation of baby boy number two. And now, he’s here and growing up and walking and talking and I can’t imagine life without him. And the truth hits me afresh. The thing that every mother at the grocery store a few steps ahead of me in life tells me,

“It goes by so fast. Enjoy it.”

The whole evening big brother, Little Dude, was really struggling with the attention being on little brother. In my mind, He was putting forth his most loud and in-your-face efforts at getting attention. He was off. He really needed to be pushing furniture around for some heavy work. Ugh. Why didn’t I write him a social story? Where was the one I wrote for this same occasion last year? Why don’t I save these things? I blamed myself.

When it came time for Little Man to open his presents, Little Dude fell apart. I was torn. My sweet firstborn who needs so much, his needs pouring out in front of me. My sweet second born, who needs so little, contentedly opening presents with grandparents and great grandparents while mom and dad try to calm down big brother.

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And then, Little Man opened the trucks. A Brudder jeep and a monster sized police truck. With lights. And music. And Little Dude could hardly handle it. It was all he could do to keep himself away from his brother’s brand new, shiny, birthday toys.

And the amazing thing? His brother knew it too. And so, my toddler, my baby, picked up his brand new police car, the gift he had just received, and handed it to his brother. “Brother’s turn with police car” he said. Then he went to his jeep and played happily. He acted like it was no big thing.

It was one of the biggest things I’ve ever witnessed.

The whole evening changed.

The tension faded in an instant. The building frustration in our older son crumbled under the grace of his brother.

Joy. Two children completely content because of one generous act. Brothers playing side by side. A gift received and given back. Generosity changed everything.

I praised Little Man for being such a good sharer. I sat back and tears welled up in my eyes. My eyes trying to recover after witnessing such a miracle.

My baby saw a need in his brother that I had missed. The need for someone to extend grace rather than judgment. The grace to see beyond the diagnosis and all it’s symptoms and causes. The grace to understand when someone needs a little sharing. A little understanding. A little act of kindness.

Sometimes as a parent of special needs I feel needy too. I see my son’s needs and I feel insecure. I feel like I need to take what I can get. I watch other’s open the gifts of life and it’s all I can do to keep it together. I receive a gift and feel I need to cling to it like it’s my saving grace.

My little son recognized the power of sharing a gift. Of taking what he received and passing it on.

Because it’s not so much about what is given, as it about how it is given. The attitude of the giver.

Generosity. I can pour love into another’s wound instead of being sucked in. I can see beyond a child who cannot appropriately express his feelings and see that he needs someone to notice his heart and not his symptoms. I can give grace that saves the day because I have received grace that has saved my life.

Maybe I am blessed because others around me might need a taste of those blessings too.

As Christmas approached, I needed this reminder from my child. That one night in December, the generosity of God came in a child. A Father’s humble gift. That child was our saving Grace, yours and mine. The gift that was given in humility, like it was no big deal but is the biggest most profound thing that happened on this globe.

Don’t miss it. It’s for you. Receive it. See a need. And give . . .

Isaiah 9:6 . . . For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us! – The Message

1 John 4:9-11 . . . God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. (NLT)

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