It’s a Sunday Scribbling! The meme this week has to do with giving-give, gift, giving, gave. This one was providential as I had written a post before I knew the prompt!
The doorbell rings and my boys jump to answer it. We aren’t expecting any callers and my mind starts to consider the possibilities of who might be at my door. It could be the neighbor kids, but something tells me it’s him. As the little boy pulls the door open I stand back, behind the door, out of view. No point really, I know it’s him before the door opens.
And it is.
He comes bearing gifts, a collection of leftovers from his days working with church kids. He is cleaning out, culling the years of accumulated stuff, trying to give it away to friends, colleagues, anyone.
He is kind and pleased to have caught me at home. Yes, caught. He tells me he didn’t call ahead because he didn’t want to leave a box on my step if I wasn’t home. It’s like he knows my ruse– how I purposefully allow his calls to go to voicemail and remain unreturned.
My boundaries are thickening with the uneasiness of having allowed them to be too thin. I have allowed comments to go unchecked. Attention to go overboard. Too many gifts to be given. I have made efforts to stop him, at least to slow him, and he has. But I still find it uncomfortable. I wonder if his wife knows what he has spent on me. I wonder if he notices I’m wearing exercise clothes. I’m grateful that he doesn’t comment on how I’m dressed and gives a more general “you’re looking well”.
I try to find compassion this day, but I still don’t invite him in. He is trying to show support and care. He is trying to make me feel better about how I was treated by others, make me feel valued. But it has an opposite effect. I instead question motives and give attention to the red flags waving in my mind.
I try not to be rude; to be pleasant and gracious. I tell myself instead to think about his need. I don’t think this is about me, it’s really about his need to do something for someone else…mitzvah. The mandate to give and perform acts of kindness.
Keeping my boundaries, I accept the gift and allow the children to dig into the box. They are happy. He seems happy. And I simply say, “Thank you.”