My father suffered a stroke and retinal detachment, both of which affected his eye sight. The first was behind one eye but allowed him a bit of sight. The second, however, brought him to the point that he had a bit of peripheral vision. He could make out faint shadows and outlines, but little else.
Thankfully, my husband and I had moved in with him the week before his second incident. In fact, it happened while the two men were watching a football game. He said the television screen looked as if cobwebs were across it. Of course, hubby and I urged him to go to the hospital, but he refused saying it was a weekend and they wouldn’t do anything for him then anyway. He would wait until Monday.
It was too late by Monday. I often wonder whether he regreted that…but Dad wasn’t one for regrets. He wasn’t one for pity, either. Not once did he complain or pity himself that he couldn’t see. He adapted. He survived. Perhaps, that came from his graduating high school during the height of the Depression. It could be that he was simply a realist. Whatever the case, Dad paid attention and handed me some great lessons about life, finances, and the world in general.
I thought about him today when I read Exodus 23:8-And thou shalt take no gift; for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous.
One of the many reasons politicans and the rich get themselves into hot water is that they end up taking gifts. Charity is giving from the heart expecting nothing in return. There are no strings attached to charity. A gift should be given in the same manner, but many times it is not. Some gifts, come with ‘strings’, unfortunately. (This is why we see so many lobbyists hanging around Washington, D.C. , Hollywood, and places where the rich and successful meet and play like Davos, Switzerland.
Dad taught me to never lend money to friends or relatives…because the first time you saw them spending it in a way you didn’t like, you would become bitter. It was better to ‘give’ it to someone and then you could count it lost to a good cause rather than to be forced to pay the gift back in some manner later.
I think Sheldon had it right when Penny gave him that napkin Leonard Nimroy used in one of the BIG BANG Christmas episodes. He showered basket-upon-basket on Penny and freely admitted that “There isn’t enough” to repay her for that gift.
Gifts can blind us to doing the ‘right’ thing…especially when they come with strings. Accept gifts from the heart with no strings gratefully. Refrain from those that you KNOW come with strings attached or with a repayment lurking in the future. By doing so, you are on the way to wisdom…