What are your thoughts about giving yourself a gift? As my friend Marian and her 72-year-old neighbor, Ruth, browsed in an antique shop, Ruth gently picked up a doll with soft hair.
“I used to have a doll just like this when I was a little girl,” she said, her eyes filling with tears. Gradually, Marian pulled the story from Ruth:
“I named my doll Hannah. And I loved her as though she were the little sister I’d always wanted. I was just learning to sew, and I was excited about the wardrobe I would make for her.
My father was the pastor of a small church, so we had very little. But it didn’t matter; I had Hannah. Then one afternoon, my parents came into my room while I examined scraps of material. One pink piece was just large enough to make a jacket for Hannah.
I looked up at my parents. Both had a this-will-be-good-for-you look, as though they were about to give me some awful tasting cough medicine.
Then my father told me he had visited a poor family that afternoon who had a daughter about my age. “She’s never had a doll,” he said.
My heart froze.
My father continued, “So we want you to give her your doll—as unto the Lord.”
I shook my head. But my mother took Hannah out of my hands.
Shame on you for being so selfish,” she said. “You have so much.”
I didn’t see that I had so much. I only had Hannah.”
As Ruth finished the story, tears were running down her cheeks.
Marian hugged her and said, “Buy this doll for yourself.”
“What?” Ruth stammered. “Buy myself a doll? I’m too old for such nonsense.”
Marian shook her head. “No you aren’t. Buy the doll. Sew those clothes now that you wish you could have sewn then.”
Ruth smiled and bought the doll. Sometimes she looks at it in the rocking chair in her bedroom and wonders if maybe—just maybe—it’s the real Hannah.
Your gift to yourself doesn’t have to be a long lost doll. Maybe it’s time to buy that big box of crayons your parents couldn’t afford when you were in elementary school. Or perhaps you need to replace the white shoelaces in your walking shoes with neon green. Go ahead and give yourself that silly gift. And smile as you realize it isn’t silly at all.
I would love to hear your thoughts about Ruth’s story or, better yet, your personal experience with giving yourself a not-so-silly gift. Please share those thoughts with me on Facebook or LinkedIn.