I can’t believe how fast this year has gone. I was pretty sure summer had just started, and it actually turns out that Halloween is next week, Thanksgiving a handful of weeks after than and then a month later it’s Christmas. Time seems to move faster and faster every year. And it seems like the retailers are trying to move it even faster. This year I saw Christmas decorations next to Halloween costumes.
We’ve talked about the upcoming holidays. The boys want to know what order they come in and how much longer until they get here. They’ve asked almost everyday if tomorrow is Halloween since we got their costumes. And then they asked if we could get a Christmas tree tomorrow. Umm, no to both, but it got me thinking.
The boys have an abundance of toys. They have so many that they can’t play with them (or keep them picked up.) Sometimes it feels as if they multiple while we are sleeping. I’ve been saying for weeks that we needed to go back through them and get rid of the broken ones, put some up for a couple of months down the road, and pack some up to give to Salvation Army. And though I keep saying this, follow through has been a little lax as sitting on the floor is extremely difficult with the cast on my foot.
Yesterday I had enough. We were going to start sorting through stuff. We sat down in front of a giant pile of toys and started talking. I told the boys that there are some kids that don’t have a bunch of toys to play with, and we were going to give some of our toys to those kids.
I have 2crazylittleboys with giant hearts. Their eyes just grew wide at the idea that some kids might not have toys. They both began to sort through the toys.
At age four, Connor struggled a little. He would pick up one of his animals and ask if he had to give it away. I had to explain a little better that the toys that he loves, he could keep. I wasn’t going to force him to give things away. After that he was feeling much better about our project.
Cameron understood a little better what we were doing. He has an ambulance that makes noises, lights up and with the push of a button will drive backwards and forwards. He plays with this truck regularly. He picked it up and put it into the give away box. I asked if he wanted to keep it, and he told me no. It was for the kids with no toys.
We got very little work done before it was time for me to fix supper so I told them we would finish the next day. By the time that bedtime rolled around, the ambulance and a couple of toys Connor had said to donate had made their way back out of the box and onto the floor. I wasn’t surprised, but I wondered how we’d ever get through everything at the rate we were going.
This morning I was drinking my coffee and taking a break when the boys came running up to me from their room. They started pulling on my arm and begging to clean up the toys. I hadn’t even thought about toy sorting yet but they were so excited. I finished my coffee and off we went.
They were dancing around so excited to get started. I walked into the room and the empty box from yesterday was once again full with the ambulance and other toys that had been removed from it. “We’re giving those to other kids.”
I can not explain how my heart filled with joy in that moment. They were so joyful to be giving toys away, and not just toys that they never play with but toys they had been playing with moments before. By the time we were done for the day, we had filled four boxes with toys and a garbage bag full of stuffed animals.
A Giving Heart
Most people probably look at giving like my boys did that first day. You pick out the old or broken stuff to give. Maybe you put “good” stuff in your box to give away, but then pull them back out to keep.
And maybe it’s not stuff you have to give but time. You’re willing to donate your time to help someone, but not the “good” time. I can give on Tuesday from two to three but not Saturday afternoon. Or maybe you give the “good” time, but you give it grudgingly.
Maybe it’s not stuff or even time that you are giving. Maybe it’s a listening ear. Maybe it’s a smile or wave. Maybe it’s your understanding of patience. Maybe what you’re being called to give is as simple as letting the person with one item in front of you and your full cart at the store.
When someone mentions giving, we normally think about money or things or even time. Those, while they may seem hard to give, are the easy ones to give. Maybe we should start bigger and harder. Let’s start giving our patience, our understanding, our love.
The most important thing, regardless of what we are giving, is the way we are doing it. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I want to give like my boys did today. They picked out toys that they were playing with to give to little kids they don’t know. And they were excited to do it. They gave with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts.
In just over a week, my newsfeed on Facebook and Twitter are going to start filling up with people sharing what they are thankful for. Let me get an early start. Today I am thankful I have two little boys who are cheerful givers.