During the past couple of weeks, we have learned about how gift giving comes with obligations and creates “complicated webs of social relationships, create debts, accrue prestige and generally facilitate ongoing complicated social relations”. We have learned a more cynical view of how people give and receive gifts and the implications that come along with each gift. Although there are so many situations that fit this description, I have to respectfully disagree that all gifts are given with some type of self-important agenda attached to each one.
Two months ago, my best friend committed suicide. She was someone who struggled with depression for a very long time, but seemed to be getting much better. She was always very open with her experiences and would jump at any chance to help someone else who felt unworthy of living on this earth. Now there is someone selfless who gives the gift of caring for someone else, regardless of how well she really knows them. Not only did she care for others and give her time and thoughts with no obligation, but she actually risked bringing up bad memories of her own that could potentially hurt her well being. She truly never thought of herself when it came to giving someone her time and effort. She gave this gift of help, because she knew what it felt like to be in that other person’s shoes.
This morning, I was sitting in my hometown diner with my Dad, just eating breakfast, not expecting any sign from the universe. Then walks in a girl who I didn’t know very well, but I knew her as my best friend’s little sister’s best friend. Clearly, I didn’t have much of a relationship with her other than the simple “Hello” when I walked by her in the halls of my high school. She came up to me and gave me a purple wristband. The wristband read “In Loving Memory of Meg Durand July 27, 1995-January 24, 2016”. She told me she only made about a dozen of these bracelets, but she wanted to give me one. She wanted to give me this bracelet because she knew of my relationship with Meg. It was a small act of kindness that she didn’t need to do and did not expect anything from in return; she simply just did it for the sake of doing it.
About an hour later, my Dad and I went to our local grocery store. As we were checking out, a girl who I have been close friends with and who was very close with Meg walks through the door. We hugged and talked for a bit then parted ways to go about our business. When I got into the car and looked at my phone, I had a text from her that said “I was literally crying in bed right before I left and I was like I need some sort of sign today Meg just give me something. I love you I needed that so much today”. So all I did was just go to pick up a Caesar salad, without realizing that I had given my friend something she had been looking for and hoping for for weeks. This did not create any kind of debt or make any type of complicated web between my friend and I. Yes, she felt grateful enough to send me a text saying how much that helped her, but she felt no obligation to do that. She sent me that text just for the sake of doing it.
So call me crazy, but I really do believe that some people can be “selfless, uninterested givers”, sometimes without even knowing.