What is giving, really? Is it a bribery of sorts? A payment? Do you judge who deserves your gift by what they have, or how much they mean to you? Or is it something different?
A few weeks ago, I won some tickets to an event on Twitter. They were expensive tickets, and I had forgotten I had even entered the draw. Usually I don't enter things that I know my family would never be interested in, but this time, I wasn't thinking.
They were a four pack of tickets to Disney on Ice.
"Mom, if you think I'm going to go watch Disney princesses on skates, you've been smoking crack," was Jake's assessment of the situation.
With much e-mailing and discussion, we convinced the company to let us gift the tickets to a family. We hadn't decided on who the family would be, yet.
There was much discussion. We could gift them to anyone we know with little kids, but we wanted to make this special. Meaningful. We wanted to give them to kids who may not ever have the chance to see Disneyland or otherwise afford to be able to go.
What I didn't anticipate was other people's reactions. On Twitter, when I mentioned the tickets, I was praised for being so kind and generous. It felt a bit weird and suddenly self conscious, I stopped talking about it. Honestly, I was just so excited about giving away the tickets, but I don't think I deserved any type of recognition or praise for it. I was simply passing on something that I couldn't use to someone who could. I admit I was afraid of how other people might view my excitement, especially on Twitter where seemingly innocent things can be blown up into huge bro-ha has. People might get the idea that I was looking for some sort of recognition or something, and that was so NOT what I wanted.
In real life, people were different. They questioned why we were giving the tickets away at all.
"I'll buy them! Why would you give them away?" Was the common question. Some thought that we were crazy, others made the comment that they didn't understand why we didn't want the few hundred dollars that the tickets were worth.
Sure, we could have sold them for about $150. Then what? What would $150 buy? Some groceries? Pay for a few Christmas presents? Would having $150 in my hand give me pure joy so infectious I'd dance in my kitchen, whooping and hollering with excitement?
Could any THING bought with a few hundred dollars do that for me?
After a few days of discussion and excited conversation, we finally picked a family with two little boys. Hubs said that when he told the Mom of our gift, she was so stunned she didn't know what to say. Didn't we want something in return? She didn't understand and offered to pay us.
"We don't want anything. Just tell us how the kids enjoyed the show when you come back."
A few weeks later, a box of chocolates and a card arrived at Hub's office, thanking us and saying that the show was "magical". The gesture was lovely-and something we hadn't expected at all.
I don't understand why people get weird about giving, because once again, we were criticized; this time, for accepting the chocolates.
Can't do that. Looks bad. You never should have gifted those tickets in the first place. We would've bought them, you know. Don't know why you gave them to HER.
Those were MY tickets. I won them. I will do with them what I damn well please and if people can not experience the true joy of giving to someone unselfishly without a thought of what they will get in return, then I really, truly, feel sorry for them. They don't know what they are missing.
They will never know what it's like to dance in their kitchen for joy because they helped someone else.
Because for me, THAT is really what giving is all about.