By Diane Gage Lofgren
Chad, an elementary school-age boy, who didn’t have a lot of friends at school, asked his mom to buy him supplies to make Valentines for the 35 students in his class. After weeks of cutting, pasting, and coloring, he went to school on the special day excited. Fearful he may not get any cards in return, his mom went out and bought his special cookies…just in case he needed cheering up when he got home.
Oh my! Hearing Pastor Adam Ybarra at BridgePoint Church in Alameda tell that story made me realize that if we can be as mature as a fifth grader, we’d realize that when we do something nice for a friend, it isn’t about expecting something in return. It’s about the giving — about extending ourselves to others.
Too often, we do a little mental scorekeeping. We do something nice or go out of our way for our friends, and we expect, even subconsciously, for them to return the favor. We may be the one who offered to drive, the one who picked up the wine for the party, or perhaps the host who threw the party. While most of us enjoy doing for others, sometimes we can harbor a bit of resentment if we don’t think we were thanked enough or repaid within what we think is an acceptable period of time.
Friendships, though, work better when we give without expecting in return. If we are patient, we will find that favors do come back to those who give, even though they may not look the way we anticipate them. And even if they don’t, let’s remember Chad and smile knowing we didn’t forget a one…not a one.