A scowl-faced girl with a tightly clenched fist stared deep into my eyes.
"I don't want to give him any!" she crowed.
I quickly prayed for wisdom. "But if you do, you'll never regret it," I replied, pulling my small, teary-eyed boy into the huddle. She kept her eyes fixed on me, refusing to acknowledge his presence. "When we share what we have with another person, we get to see their joy because of our kindness and that makes us feel so good. God made it this way so that we would love sharing." Her grip loosened, knuckles not so white, shoulders dropped a little. The three of us stood in silence for a moment. I could almost see the wheels turning in her little mind. "Well," she began, eyes peering into her fist all stuffed with melting m&m's, "he can have one." She turned toward her brother and carefully plucked a brown candy from between her fingers and held it out to him. A grateful boy wiped his tears with the back of his hand and popped the m&m into his mouth.
She turned back to me. "That's good, right?" she questioned with raised eyebrows.
I sighed and pulled her in close. "It's a start," I whispered.
And off they ran, as though nothing had ever happened and I sat thinking about how often my tight fisted-ness has kept me from peace and joy. I had convinced myself that I give tremendous amounts of love and time to others--others who are easy to give to. But when I began to think about who in my life is difficult to selflessly give to, that caused me to wonder what God thinks of my giving. Is it all like "filthy rags" to Him if it's not with a cheerful heart? If it's not given equally to each needy one He sends my way? What about my cranky neighbour? My high-maintenance friend? My weary husband? I can see it all so clearly in my children, why not in my own selfish heart?
I bowed my head and opened my tight fists and asked the Lord to help me to give abundantly, uncompromisingly and selflessly to all... especially those who are difficult.
P.S. For all of you who are wondering if you're the high maintenace friend... you're not. I had no one in mind, in particular. In fact, I'm sure I can be one of those too :)