Mark Munn, a Pastoral Counsellor at Covenant House, shared this story with our entire Covenant House Team recently - we hope that it touches your heart as it did ours:
Sister Nancy got a call from the front desk that someone was here with a gift and wished to her. She went to reception where waiting for her was an elderly man proudly standing with a jar in his hand and a garbage bag of donations over his shoulder.
Sister Nancy noticed that the jar was wrapped with tape, and on the top there was some writing in felt pen: his name, Don. And inside the jar were as many dimes as Sister Nancy had ever seen in one place. $60.00 dollars of dimes. Don held up the jar and said his collection of $60 was his gift to Covenant House Vancouver, to help youth living on the street.
And he gave her the jar.
Then he gave Sister Nancy his garbage bag, which was filled with rosaries, toques and packs of playing cards. “This is all I have to give” he said to her. And he was so sincere, as if he had given us a pot of gold. Sister Nancy felt like he had just given her, and us, $60 Million dollars.
Sister Nancy can’t stop thinking about Don. She said that we get gifts of all kinds and all sizes from all kinds of people and Don gave us his most extraordinary gift. He gave us everything he had, joyously, sharing what wealth he had with our youth.
When I first heard the story, I was a little concerned. Shouldn’t we have instructed this man to save his money? Was this fair, to accept a gift from someone who seemed not too well off himself? But then I realized he was determined to help us. He was proud to give. He was not feeling guilt or pressure to donate his money to us, but rather joy at the opportunity to give everything he had to give.
Sister Nancy and I think that Don is teaching all of us about the nature of unconditional love – which is that even when you give, out of love, to the point that you feel it, when it might cost you a little bit or a lot, something grows inside of you. Your biggest and best self grows inside of you.
Which was so obvious of Don’s face in our Drake Street lobby.