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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Spiritual Lessons From Unemployment - Part 8: Receiving Hurts

I was laid off the week of Thanksgiving. Christmas was coming soon. So I went to sign up for the Salvation Army's Christmas Bureau -- their program for giving low income families Christmas gifts for their children. We qualified for it even when we had a salary but never utilized until the layoff.

I went to the meeting place where I had to sign up. I took a number, waited until I was called, showed my documentation and stated I had no income. The compassionate women made a heavy sigh of understanding and shook her head. We were signed up to receive free gifts for low income families. I was a low income family. Ugh.

I walked out and literally heaved and sobbed. It was unbearably excruciating. Perhaps they should have been tears of joy at God's provision for my family but my soul just ached and I wept in my car until I could compose myself, go home and not traumatize my family.

A couple weeks later we went to the OnCenter in Syracuse with several thousand of other low income families to choose gifts for our children. We could choose a toy and book, then were given a paper bag for stocking stuffers and a box of food for our family.

Again, you would think I would be grateful and relieved. I guess I was. Kind of. But really I cried with an deep inner anguish. I felt so out of place. It was like I was living a life that was not my own. It was a bad dream.

So I learned that sometimes generosity hurts. It was necessary and needed for my family. I was thankful. But the gift reminded me of my own shortcoming and inability to provide. The gift pushed me face to face with my great need. Maybe my pride was hurt and I was embarrassed. Maybe I was just sadly reminded of the depth of my situation. But being the recipient of this generosity just hurt. Even as I type this I'm still processing it, wondering why it hurt so much. But it did. And it has given me great depth of insight into the possible feelings of those I give to and great compassion for them as well.

As I look over the past several months, I'm so grateful for all of the generous gifts we have received -- big and small. Many seemed like stunning miracles in our life. But some were painful to receive.

I'm sure you are generous to many people. Thank you and God bless you. The recipients of your generous gifts are grateful I am sure. But don't be surprised if they don't appear that way immediately. Your gift may expose their need and that hurts. Be patient and compassionate with them.

Comments on "Spiritual Lessons From Unemployment - Part 8: Receiving Hurts"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:41 PM, May 23, 2010) : 

Wow, amazing feeling and honesty, appreciate it, I have to say, it would be hard to receive something like this, but as you said, it's God's way of provision, I'm sad that it's so hard to receive blessings sometimes but it's still a blessing, praying!


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