My Grandma Jo was incredibly generous in a lot of ways. When my mom married my dad (Grandma Jo’s son), my grandparents quietly altered their long-held Christmas Eve traditions to mirror my mother’s own Christmas Day traditions. As children, when our tired blue minivan would pull up to her small white house on Main Street in Rugby, North Dakota, Grandma Jo would put aside her tasks to play games with us kids for hours. And as a gifted pianist, she played weekly at her church and donated her talents to a local nonprofit for many years.
Despite her generosity, there was one thing Grandma Jo wasn’t willing to share: her fudge recipe. Chocolaty, nutty, delicious—she brought it to church potlucks and funerals, showers and parties. Everyone raved. But anytime someone would ask her for her recipe, she would readily agree—and then promptly go home and write out a fake version to give to them.
My parents would roll their eyes and laugh a little, and my sisters and I were too busy licking our sticky fingers to care too much what the adults were doing. Years later, though, I asked my mom about the legacy of the fudge. Had Grandma Jo given us a fake version too? My mom was matter-of-fact: we had the real recipe—but it wasn’t a secret anymore. She gave it out freely to whomever asked it of her. All that subterfuge of Grandma Jo’s—and the subpar pans of fudge her neighbors and friends had made and been disappointed by over the years—had come to naught.
Proverbs says we’ll be refreshed when we refresh others, and I believe that rather than diminishing our joy, sharing the things we love with others actually increases it. I’ve often wondered if my grandma would have gotten more enjoyment out of sharing the real recipe than she ever did over keeping it to herself.
Today’s act of friendship:
Share something of yourself—be it a recipe, gift, or hidden talent—with someone else.