Ever get a gift from someone and wonder what on earth that person was thinking?
Or if that person was thinking at all?
During my life, I have received gifts that went straight into the trash, like stale chocolates long past the expiration date. I suppose we all get something like that once in a while.
Personally, I try very hard to find gifts people will like. For example, once while my husband and I were at a local amusement park with our kids, we bought a couple of wild animal hand puppets for the children of some friends of ours. I bundled them up and dropped them into the mail.
About a year later, our friends flew all the way from California to Florida to visit Disney World. After arriving home, they called to say that while they were on vacation, they had gotten some gifts for our kids.
I thought that was very sweet. Unnecessary, but sweet.
So we made the two hour drive to their house to pick up these gifts.
You’ll never guess what our friends had gotten our kids.
Two bars of soap.
And a roll of toilet paper.
No, I’m not kidding.
Okay, I admit the soap was in the shape of Disney characters and the toilet paper had a paper cover with Disney characters on it.
But you know darn well it was stuff they got free at their hotel.
Now, it wasn’t like our friends were struggling financially. After all, they had just purchased round-trip plane tickets to Florida and an overnight stay at a Disney hotel. These people made more money than we did—a lot more.
Even if money had been tight, I can’t imagine anywhere in the universe where toilet paper is considered a good gift. Yet, somehow, they had thought it was a terrific idea to pack that into their luggage to bring home for my kids—and then have us make a two-hour drive to come get it.
If it’s true that it’s the thought that counts, what on earth had they been thinking?
I remember muttering a thank you. What else could I say?
During the long drive home, I tried to figure out what this meant. I knew that if the situation had been reversed, if we had been the ones to get their kids toilet paper, they would have been so incensed they would never have spoken to us again.
So why was it okay to give that to us? It seemed like they were saying “Hey, our kids deserve a trip to Disney World, but your kids are worth . . . well . . . toilet paper.”
Of course I had to forgive them, especially for the sake of all the children involved so they could remain friends.
Sometimes you just have to suck it up.
Isn’t that what a saint would do?
A few years later, the husband of this couple phoned to inform me that he was sending back the book store gift certificate I had gotten his daughter for her birthday—as the gift for my daughter’s birthday. I guess it wasn’t good enough for his kid, but it was good enough for mine. Beats me why he even had to tell me that. Why not just send it in a birthday card for my daughter? It’s not as if I wrote down the gift certificate number.
Yup, sometimes you just have to suck it up.
But then, being a saint has never been easy.