"When you do a charitable deed, do not left your left hand know what the right hand is doing."
-Matthew 6:3, NKJV
Most of us have heard this quote, whether we knew it was from the Bible or not. This week, I was fortunate enough to experience people who lived by it.
In a nutshell, I'm headed back to school in about two weeks. There is a lot of stuff to do, some of it around my recovery and some of it around scheduling, etc. I woke up the other day kind of worried about it. My Facebook status was a tongue-in-cheek to do list/litany of concerns. The last item was how I had a "shopping list as long as my arm," and no funds to shop with! This is true in a lot of ways: I haven't been able to work much this summer because of my injury. I have a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity for travel this spring, that I am desperately saving for. My family circumstance is. . . financially tight. Plus, I am a college student, and what college student has ever had enough money?!?!?
That being said, I am lucky. My mom took out a loan to help pay my tuition this year: one of my aunts sent me a hundred dollars to help me buy textbooks for fall semester. So I will go to school, I will not starve, and I will at least have books. These are the necessities. My status was mostly about sharing my stress with my fellow-stressed-out-students, who laughed and shared their own lists of woes and worries.
This is where the gesture comes in.
I log on to my Facebook (I'm kind of a junky. I admit it. Mostly in the summer, though, because during the school year I am flat. out.) and see the (1) symbol next to my inbox.
A friend of mine had written me in regards to my status. He told me that if I were serious about being underfunded to cover my shopping list, he and his fiancee would love to help. If, of course, I'd allow them. Now here are the parts that make this gesture exceptional.
I've known him and his fiancee for a month.
We've met in person maybe five times?
They have no knowledge of my or my family's income: no way of knowing if I am belly aching over nothing.
They're newly engaged and planning a wedding.
And trying to buy a computer.
And fund a music program for young children. Because she is passionate about those two things.
And find a place to live after they are married.
They both work demanding jobs: he has been working constant overtime, getting up before the sun is up, coming home late, all at a physical, labor-intense job. So they can cover their costs and overhead and plans and dreams.
It would have been so easy to leave a comment, seen by everyone, on my status. Something like "Hey, get in touch with me. There's something I want to talk about." or "Can we help?"
Either of them could have "felt out" the circumstance (i.e. Would I accept their help? Did I need it? How dire were things?) by calling, texting, or asking mutual acquaintances. Or even Boyfriend, who introduced us. They talk all the time anyway - it would hardly be out of line to ask Boyfriend about Girlfriend!
Instead, the message was private. It hasn't been mentioned since. No one knows about it but him, his fiancee, and me. Unless I chose to tell people. Thus I am not embarrassed by a need for charity. My pride can go unmolested. No one will pat them on the back. Their virtue will go unseen.
There are a lot of people in this world who claim to be "Religious," or "Christian." And there are a lot of people who are Atheists or Agnostic who claim that just helping each other out is all thats needed. There are very few people who practice what they preach. This couple does. They devote themselves to church and others on Sunday. They don't gossip. Their doors and hearts are always open. They give freely, more to others than they keep to themselves. He signed a small loan this week, to cover some of his costs. . . the same week they offered to also cover mine. And perhaps the most amazing of all, in today's instant-gratification society, they look for no recognition. Ask for no praise or reward.
The best way I can thank them is to let them remain anonymous. I won't tell the left hand.