Friday, October 29, 2010

Question

So, Mere and I were talking about this last night and she said, "put it on your blog and get some opinions." Sounds like a GREAT idea.

When I was sick we were constantly (and still are) amazed at the kindness and generosity of the people in our life. But one particular incident was really mind blowing. About 1/2 way through my illness, when things were really getting tough and money was non-existent we got a card in the mail with a check for $500 and a REALLY nice message. You could really feel the love and genuine concern in what was written in the card, it was AMAZING and the money was life saving. The gift came from a couple that I went through med school and residency with. It was such a kind and generous gesture that I still get goosebumps when I think about it. They are in fellowship (read = not making a lot of money) and have 2 young children and $500 is a BIG deal to them (and me). Not to mention, I know that they are very money conscious...they are savers, not spenders.

When we were residents B (the wife) and I spent a lot of time together and that is really when our friendship started. But, we are in different fellowships and we all have young kids and busy lives so over the last few years I haven't seen a lot of B or her husband (mostly at Bday parties, etc). She had heard through the grapevine about me being sick. I will never forget opening that card, it brings me to tears as I write this. It was one of those "random" acts of kindness that makes you want to be a better person. Mere made them some of her super cool lunch bags, I wrote a thank you note, and she delivered them to their house. It was all we could do at the time.

Which brings me to my question. Now I'm better and we could send them a check for $500, but should we? It was a gift and I do not want to offend them. Our philosophy through all of this is to pay it forward (and we have been doing that) but for some reason this question keeps coming back to me. I was thinking of maybe sending them a nice gift card when they graduate from fellowship or something like that.

The reason this is coming up now is that I got a really nice text from B yesterday. She had heard about me leaving fellowship and had some super nice and supportive things to say. She also mentioned the lunch sacks and how much she loves them. I feel like we will be life long friends. The kind that might not talk or see each other a lot but are always there. I am so grateful for B and so lucky to have her in my life.

What do you think?

9 comments:

tallgirl said...

Maybe you could tell them you would like to pay them back for the money. If they refuse, then tell them you will give it to Heifer or to a local woman's charity in their honor.

Meredith said...

What an amazing act of kindness.

In keeping with tallgirl's theme, do they have a favorite charity? Or do their kids go to daycare or something like that where you could go in an prepay a bit of tuition?

K J and the kids said...

WOW ! I don't know. I really don't know. If someone gave you 20.00.....then no, it would be rude to give it back....but 500.00 is a lot of money...especially, like you said if they don't have it.
I think you should do the tall girl way and offer....and if they don't let you accept the gift as a gift then remember it the next time someone you know is in need.

In your life you will be faced with lots of moments in which to pay it forward. Take the opportunity then. I don't think you should just spend the money on a charity right now.

I would take the Holiday season to send them a small gift. Nothing huge...just a nice gift that says thank you again.
(As much as you are going to want to thank them over and over each holiday until you've paid back the 500.00 plus some...don't :) ha ha

sally said...

Maybe a combination of both? A gift card for them and a donation to a charity in honor of them for the balance?
How wonderful to be blessed with that type of friends.

Jen said...

I know if I gave someone money like that, I would not want or expect them to pay me back. I think sending them a card saying what you just said in your post would be a great thing. I'm sure they know you were thankful for the money, but maybe they don't know just how much it was needed at that time.

M from PA said...

Hi,

WOW!! So much has happened and I regret not being in touch!

Also, Happy Birthday to S, I can't believe how old she is getting.

As for your question, the number one thing to realize is that true friends do things from the heart. I know money questions can be uncomfortable and taboo, but it is okay to ask B. You can thank her again, and let her know that things are better now and you can pay her back. If she declines, then it is done and you can either make a charitable donation or just remember how people can be there for other people when they are in need. (Also, at some point she may see the blog entry). I think tallgirl is right (hi tallgirl).

Sarai and Dani said...

I know what you mean by this dilema. WHen I was suddenly admitted to the hospital this summer, all our family was out of town and we had no one to watch our trio for almost four days. Our friend (with 9 kids mind you) dropped all her plans and just showed up to take over for us. It was life saving! We had no idea how to repay her and she wouldn't accept money, so what we chose to do was get her a gift certificate to the movies that would pay for all eleven of them and then a gift card for a nice dinner for just her and her husband. Personally, I love gift cards, and if you make it like a special thank you that took thought, it can mean a whole lot more than just money. You could get them a few different gift cards to things they could do on a nice couples date night, or something fun and exciting for the whole family to do sometime together and wrap it up in a gift basket with other meanigful or idea supporting accessories i.e. candles for the romantic evening, or sunscreen/rain ponchos or anything else for a fun family adventure. Just some ideas! We are so thankful you are better and will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Big hugs!

Amy said...

I agree with what one person said I think. It was a gift. A very, very generous gift. You're paying it forward, that's what it's all about. I wouldn't offer to pay it back, it wasn't a loan. I think that would be weird to them. If they couldn't afford to do it, they wouldn't have. That's not to suggest that they're loaded but because they're savers they probably can afford more than you think. A nice card is appropriate. Anything more from their perspective may seem frivolous.

Sonya said...

I would view it as a generous and thoughtful gift. It was their decision to do this for your family. They know their finances best. I would imagine the dollar amount doesn't equal the true gift that was given or received.

In our situation, we had some amazing friends step up and help out. That was an act that gave us huge relief in midst of it all. Without them, I don't know what we would have done. (Still brings tears to my eyes!)

Once things were a little settled we arranged for some amazing sitters to hang with our kids and their kids so we could take our friends out for an evening. When it came time to pay the tab they of course wanted to pay for themselves. We explained why it was important for us to do this. There is absolutely nothing we could do to "repay" them for their generosity and support. All we could do was ensure that they knew how much it meant to us.

While we hope that nothing tragic ever happens to their family, they know that we are always here for them.