All I did was watch her kids for a couple hours so she could go to a doctor’s appointment. It was nothing special or heroic. I was already at home with my own kids, so why not add a couple more to the chaos?
But as she stood in my doorway, forcing shoes and coats back onto her children, she poured forth thanks as though I had just handed her a wad of one hundred dollar bills. To me, I had hardly done anything, but to her, it was everything.
Sometimes I struggle with comparing the gifts I’ve been given with the flashier gifts of some individuals in my life. I am not a leader or a public speaker; I don’t hold any advanced degrees, and there aren't a lot of subjects that I am particularly knowledgeable about. I’m not very good at making money, and I’m about equally bad at being generous with the money I do have.
I know and believe that in the Body of Christ “we have gifts that differ” (Romans 12:6) and everyone’s gifts are needed, even the “smaller” ones like mine (caring for little kids all day with, ahem, patience and cheerfulness). But sometimes I wish that I could be setting the world on fire in a big important way.
Until my friend bursts through my front door with joy and gratitude written all over her face because she didn’t have to go to the doctor with toddlers in tow. That’s when I realize that it doesn’t really matter what my gifts are, what matters is that I am being a gift to someone.
Maybe you need to be reminded of this as well: you are a gift to someone. And even if it’s just one person, that one person is intrinsically precious and radically loved by God. He is using you to bring that person into His Kingdom.
This short essay on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's thoughts on gift is profound.
Anna Coyne is a wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic Faith. She is a classically trained pianist who, after teaching for ten years now stays home with her three young children. but still manages to flex her creative muscles through writing, knitting, and gardening. She is proud to call Saint Paul home and loves everything about living in Minnesota, except for winter. You can find out more about her here.