Gifts

Two wrapped gifts

Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.—PHILIPPIANS 2:4 (NIV)

For nearly a year, my mother-in-law lived with us after a series of illnesses prevented her from staying on her own. I had recently retired from teaching, so much of the day I was home alone with Granny. We spent a lot of time watching television or talking about family issues, but beyond the superficial chatter of life, we hadn’t bonded over much else.

In the fall, my husband, John, and I were scheduled to work at a spiritual retreat. Many of us involved in the event were preparing snacks for the participants, and I had set aside a day to assemble 130 treat bags. Since it was such a large undertaking, I asked Granny if she’d help me. We arranged the items for the bags between us on the table and settled in to work. As she sat opposite me, we silently prayed for each person who would receive the gift.

Sitting in perfect silence across from my husband’s mother, I felt closer to her than ever before. When we finished all the bags, she confided, “I really enjoyed doing something for someone else. It was nice to take my mind off my own problems.”

I was also thankful. Thankful for the precious moment I had shared with her as we focused on other people and God’s love for them.

Today's Prayer:

Lord, as Saint Francis reminded us, it’s in giving that we truly receive.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts