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Castle Point Court
Glen Allen, VA 23060


Garth Callaghan

Napkin Notes Dad





The Napkin Notes Blog

The Grace of Receiving

WGarth Callaghan

My family and I have received some wonderful care lately. We’ve received incredible support from our friends and even many strangers. The support has included spiritual, mental, and financial. We’re learning to say “yes” when offered help in any way. Battling cancer is a full time job, and there are times that I just don’t have the ability to do things the way I could three years ago.

We experienced grace just this week, and I am still shaking my head in wonderment. We live in an area of Richmond that is dominated by community swimming pools. Community pools are membership pools with dues that are paid annually. We have belonged to our pool for as long as I can remember. It’s an extraordinary community of people, and Emma has been a member of the swim and diving team there on and off since we became members.

Our annual payment is due April 1, just a few days from now. We were not going to be able to pay the fee on time. On the list of bills that need to be paid, “pool membership” is well below mortgage, food, clothing, my trial medicine, and doctors’ bills. It is not a necessity. Yes, it would be embarrassing to lose membership, but we’d have to learn to manage it. We contacted the email on the membership paperwork and hopefully asked if we could make payments. We didn’t receive an answer. We didn’t even know if that email address was actively monitored, but reached out one more time in hopes of any response. 

The response we received was astonishing. “Apologies for the delayed reply. I am happy to report that your family's 2014 dues have been paid in full. I deposited the money order today that arrived with a note signed ‘anonymous friends of the Callaghan family’. Hope this news brightens your afternoon.”

I am not exactly sure how this happened. I don’t recall sharing this with anyone. Maybe Lissa did. Maybe someone just knew.

I have prayed about this a lot over the past couple of days. I know that receiving and giving are two sides of the same coin. God wants us to be gracious receivers and joyful givers. It would be easy to be prideful and deny the gift. It would be human. For me, learning to experience the grace of receiving is difficult. It requires me to admit that I am not in control and that I am in need of support.

God has created us like him. He is a giving God. He calls us to be cheerful givers. I am thankful that I had many cheerful givers to learn from as I grew up. I am learning to be a gracious receiver. After all, for each gift there must be someone to receive it. 

To the anonymous giver, I am grateful. Thank you.