After running errands for nearly 3 hours on Christmas Eve Eve, Wesley and I decided to stop at Starbucks and go through the drive-thru. We had already been to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Kohl's, and Hobby Lobby. He was (mostly) behaved and only tried to jump out of the cart with the buckle still in place 3 times. He only screamed twice and he only ran away from me 19 times. I considered it a success to be rewarded with a chai latte and blueberry coffee cake.
I decided on a Starbucks about halfway between where we were (across the street from a Starbucks) and our home (across the street from a Starbucks). It had a drive-thru and was on the convenient side of the street. There wasn't a line because it was nearly 11am, but there was one person in front of me. I used the time to tell Wesley all about the magic of Starbucks.
When I got to the counter, debit card in hand, the cheerful employee told me that the car in front of me had paid for my order. I immediately got tears in my eyes. I took me tea and coffee cake and handed her a $10 telling her to do whatever she wanted with it. She was so joyful and was probably having a great time giving people free coffee.
When I took my tea and coffee cake I felt validated. As a mom of a toddler, I don't often feel heard or understood. Even though the car in front of me has no idea who I am or what my day was like, paying for my order made me feel valued. I hope that however that $10 was used, more love was shared.
Each year Jarrod and I choose to donate the equivalent of our Christmas budget to organizations or individuals in need. If we spend $500 on friends and family for Christmas, we donate $500 to a cause or someone we don't know. This year we decided to have a little bit of fun with our giving. We gave to a few causes especially close to our hearts, but we also gave to a single mom waitress who served us at a restaurant. It has been an absolute blast!!
One struggle I had with giving is deciding who should get the gifts. I want it to be someone who really needs it. Someone who would benefit from it and would use the money wisely. I considered how we could give in a more personal way, but was struggling with it. Should we just leave a large tip on Christmas eve? Should we pay for someone's meal next time we're out to eat? Should we find a family in need and buy Christmas presents?
I've been thinking, contemplating, and praying over the last few days about this. My experience at Starbucks taught me something. Of course I was able to pay for my $6 order at Starbucks. Also, it was frivolous and definitely not a need. But it spread joy and made me feel valued. Isn't that what Christmas is all about? Tomorrow we'll spend our morning doing some awesome giving and I cannot wait. I hope it spreads joy, love, and grace.