A few years ago, the stage production of Phantom of the Opera opened for a brief run in my community. I didn’t think much of it, but my youngest daughter was over the moon. A high school student at the time, she loved the songs and the story of the beloved production.
In the evenings, I’d hear Phantom’s playlist blasting from the bathroom while she took one of her infamously long showers. She insisted that it took at least two or three songs for her to wash her long, thick, curly hair properly.
Since the play was running in town for a few weeks in early November, I went online to see about getting some last minute tickets. Thinking that she’d love an early Christmas gift, I hoped for an affordable mezzanine ticket in the back corner.
Holy no! My eyes popped out at the ticket cost. I doubled checked to make sure that I wasn’t on the Hamilton website.
If you’ve got kids and your family goes through a tough time, it’s easy to justify an over-the-top purchase for our kids. The year before, I took her with me on a cruise with my publishing company because I felt guilty about putting that kid through a second marriage separation. Did a cruise offset the pain and loss? No. But we made some great memories so the cost and guilt was worth it.
Not even guilt could override my common sense this time.
The tickets cost three times more than the generous amount that I’d considered spending.
A few evenings later, my middle daughter, Sami, burst into my room and shut the door. I was sitting in my bed trying to sort out my life and Begging God to fix our messy life.
I looked up in time to see Sami sail through the air and land right next to me on our large king size bed.
“Mom! Guess what! Guess what! Guess what!”
Her eyes sparked. My high energy girl buzzed with excitment.
“I got me and Abbie tickets to the Phantom of the Opera!!!!”
My jaw dropped. “What?!”
“I got us tickets!”
I wish that I could tell you that I celebrated with my girl in that moment. Instead, I questioned her wisdom in spending so much money on those tickets.
“Mom, I wanted to.”
My precious girl wanted to. She knew how much her younger sister loved the musical and she lovingly and generously spent her hard earned income as a pre-school teacher on those tickets.
“I wanted to.”
Isn’t that the heart of generosity? Isn’t that the opposite of the guilt or anxiety that often strangles our courage when the still small voice of God prompts us to give to others.
What I love is that my girl didn’t worry “What if I don’t have enough for me?” Rather she wondered, “What will Abbie’s face look like when I tell her about these tickets?”
I was humbled that day. Not because of the tickets, but God showed me the heart of lavish generosity and it looked like My daughter.
And He used her to remind her of His generosity toward me. That I could live with open hands and give even in a season that felt scarce. Even when I wasn’t sure how I would make it, I could be like the widow of Zarapheth or Jesus’ widow with the two mites, who open-handedly gave all that they had because they believed in a God of abundance. They trusted in a God who loved to give to those who give.
Can I tell you just how precious it was when Sami told Abbie about those tickets?! As mothers, we want our kids to have good relationships with each other. I believe that uncensored generosity is part of the secret sauce to making that happen.
This meant that I cheered on Sami’s generous gift and didn’t rain on her parade. She was an adult and I had to step back and let her manage the cost of generosity and not second guess her decision or feed any fears of scarcity.
When I picked the girls up after the performance, my Abbie’s eyes were radiant. Samantha’s were, too. They loved the experience and they loved sharing the special evening with each other. Their words tumbled together as they described the stage, music, and lights. My eyes welled with tears as I drove because while those tickets cost Sami a small fortune, the memories that they now shared were priceless.
It’s been a few years since that special night. I love, love seeing my girls be generous toward each other. With my oldest daughter in the military and only home one a year or so, my girls don’t get a lot of face to face time. Yet when they do, they don’t second guess pouring out love. This past Christmas, my oldest daughter made it home and she wanted to treat us all to an escape room adventure. We had a great time that night. That generous gift gave us lots of fun memories.
As their mama, I am grateful that they want to live with generous hearts. They don’t desire stuff, but they love spending to laugh, love, tease and cheer each other on.
I don’t know how old your kids are or if you’re a sibling yourself, but I hope that you can cheer generosity on with your kids or siblings when it happens. If your ten year old wants to spend his money to buy his sister something just because, cheer him on.