Didn’t say it was easy

Not-So-Easy-ButtonIn a recent issue of American Magazine, Mark Neilsen wrote a wonderful piece called “Asking for Change: The challenge of giving without grudges.” He tells of his ongoing and frequent encounters with a poor woman named Donna. She appears in his life when there is need in her life. What was especially wonderful about the article was his own ongoing reflection on his reactions and emotions surrounding each encounter: “Like the time she asked me to loan her $20 for an emergency, and I came to learn that it really was not a loan at all…” Be you pastor or parishioner, in modern life almost everyone has encountered their own “Donna.” Perhaps the first time we might actually expect they will repay the loan. After that how many of us realize it isn’t a loan, but as Mark describes: “a gift, minus the generosity.”  I think there are also other descriptions: “a gift, with the warning – ‘don’t let me catch you using it for any foolishness.'”  Or perhaps, “a gift minus the glance” – as in never making eye contact and just hoping the moment passes as soon as possible. Continue reading