There is a song on the radio I heard many years ago. I don't know the name of it because, in all honesty, I'm not a country and western fan. Now I know people are already thinking, how can Clifford enjoy the outdoors, ranching, hunting and fishing and not like country and western music.
Well, you have to understand I grew up as a confused goat-roping surfer. I was very active in FFA, but enjoyed going to Surfside on weekends to surf. I grew my hair as long as my mom and dad would let me, but still enjoyed wearing my cowboy boots. I was I guess an all around mixture of culture. I played in a 70's band, but road a Cushman motor scooter to school, which really wasn't very cool looking. I learned many different trades, but my music was Hendrix, Zeppelin, Cream and the like.
This song I have heard recently tells a story about a guy named Joe who gives a helping hand to a lady in distress. He wouldn't take any money from her and before the song is over you soon find out Joe and his pregnant wife are financially strapped and his wife receives a large tip from the same lady Joe had helped. The song ends with husband and wife going to sleep and the wife reassures Joe everything's gonna be all right.
The song has touched me in many different ways and I want to share one of them with you. This is a no name story, just the facts and my feelings.
In the year 1988 my family lost our home to a house fire. I'll share the details in a future story, but needless to say the loss of a home can be very devastating.
Our family, church and friends rallied around us and with God's help we survived. Life has been better and I look back at the events and realize for everything there is a reason.
During the immediate tragedy we received several donations of money and they were sorely needed and greatly appreciated at the time. It was one of those times in our lives we could never repay the kindness of the people who helped us. We wrote thank you notes, made phone calls and put a great big sign in front of the ruins of our home thanking the entire neighborhood.
Though all the gifts were very much appreciated, there is one gift of money I will never forget. I went to the mailbox a few days after the fire and an envelope contained a gift of $100. When I saw the money and began to open the letter with trembling hands, I saw the name of our benefactor written at the bottom of the note.
A young couple whom we had not seen in several years had given the gift to us. They used to live here in Tomball and they eventually moved. I almost cried at the money they had supplied and I also knew full well that this gift was given from the heart, because, like most of us, this young couple was probably living from paycheck to paycheck. They had bills to pay and things to save for, but they gave of themselves to help others. We wrote them a thank you note and expressed the best we could our appreciation. I knew this gift was one of sacrifice. I cannot explain how much we were shocked and appreciated their thoughtfulness.
I knew there was no proper way to express all the feelings we had, so we made a decision, like Joe in the song, to spread this gift to as many other people as we could.
Over the years God has blessed us and I am happy to say the gift has multiplied several times over.
Several years after that incident, I came across a young couple in need. I saw in them a similar lifestyle my wife and myself had at a young age – living on love and happiness knowing the money was not always available for emergencies. They were in the midst of a personal need and during these times every dollar counts.
I was honored to pass on once again a gift that started growing many years prior. I just hope they remember to do the same some day in their future.
As we approach this season of giving, remember to be thankful for the things of the past, but don't forget to share in your future. Sometimes it's the small things in life that can help another person from day to day. For many of us, in our lives we can probably remember when even a gift of five dollars brought immediate relief. Your gifts do not have to be overboard. Your gifts do not have to be better than someone else's. Your gifts do not have to be large or extravagant. They simply need to be given from the heart and given with no strings attached. Otherwise it's not a gift but something conditional. Give and give freely. It's good for the soul.