A couple nights ago, we came home to find a package on our doorstep. It contained a book, which contained $175 in smaller bills tucked in the pages. We asked the babysitters if they’d heard anything, and they said they’d heard a knock at the door, but didn’t know who’d left it. Then we argued for about 10 minutes about whether or not we were allowed to pay them for watching our kid. (We compromised by giving them a book instead.)
Then they left, and we just kind of stood there looking at each other. “Are we poor?” we asked. “Like, are we poor enough that people think they need to leave anonymous donations on our doorstep?” We knew it was a goodwill gesture (it’s Christmastime in Mormontown, after all,) but we still had a hard time thinking that someone thought we might need help.
Then the next night, we heard a knock at the door and opened it to find—nobody—and an envelope on the ground. With a Wal-Mart gift card in it. And we looked at each other and said, “No, but really—whose list are we on? Do they know we still have money in the bank?” And then a few minutes later, someone else knocked and Ethan whisked the door open in time to see a kid running away and two Hot Wheels cars on the doorstep. Apparently, our upstairs neighbors got the same thing that night. So that made us feel a little better. At least we’re not the only people getting gifted.
It’s not like I don’t appreciate gifts. I mean, free stuff, right? And holiday cheer and giving and all that. It’s just that it hurts my pride a little when it’s anonymous, and when it’s money. It makes me wonder if people think we can’t make it on our own. Like we need charity to survive. The fierce, independent young woman in me roars, “Don’t open that door for me! I’ve got arms!” …and forgets that it’s just a kind gesture, not a condescending one.
So a couple hours ago, when our bishop knocked on our door and said, “Wait right here; I’ve got some stuff to bring in,” Ethan and I looked at each other like, “Uh-oh.” And then a small parade of boxes entered our living room, full of groceries. Like, full full. And while we stood there a little awkwardly, Bishop said, “Look, I want you to know you’re not special. I mean—you’re special. Of course you’re special. Please feel special. But please know that we’re doing this for other families as well. You’re not a project. We just wanted to make sure you have a good Christmas, and that means making sure you stick around.”
“Like, in this neighborhood, or like not dying?” I asked.
“Yeah, some from column A and some from column B,” said the bishop’s son.
And that was it. They left, we unpacked a ridiculous amount of groceries, and then I cried a little bit. From relief, mostly. And from finally being in a neighborhood where people actually notice if we’re struggling. And, I guess, because it finally clicked that if Christians are supposed to be so dang nice to each other, someone has to be on the receiving end. Right now, we’re on the receiving end.
It’s been a blow to my pride, but probably one I needed. And when I stop to admit it, we really have needed some help. So thanks to all the anonymous donors. And just FYI—if your neighborhood hasn’t noticed you yet, and you’re struggling, hit us up. I’m a pretty good cook, and we’ve got a lot of hot chocolate mix now. Come chill. ♥