The Thoughts of Gunnar


Giving When You Don’t Have To
May 6, 2015, 3:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

When i think of my step-father (and this is the only time I will use the word step, to me, he is my dad,) I think of the time we needed to get a tree removed from our front yard.  My dad lined up about 4 or 5 quotes, it was a rather big job.  He wanted the stump and everything removed.  I don’t recall what figure it was exactly, but the gentleman who had the lowest bid came in about 25% less than anyone else.  A difference of several hundred dollars.  With a family of 6 to feed and care for, dad gladly accepted this bid.
The gentleman who took down our tree not only did it quickly, he did an incredible job doing it cleanly, and was busting his tail to get the work done.  My dad knew what that was like, as he worked a very physically demanding job himself.  Being about 17 years old, dad was taking some time with me now and then when bills or odd jobs were being paid for to include me in on it, so as I could know how to do such things myself.  I recall the guy saying that the estimate was right on, and that was all that was needed.  My dad then cut him a check for $250 more than the agreed on price.  The guy had a smile a mile wide on his face, was beyond grateful, even checking to make sure that is what my dad really wanted to do.  Dad assured him it was, and thanked him again for an outstanding job and service.
At that time in my life, I had held a job for about 3 years.  I would take my income, and divide it into several different jars.  If I was saving for something, I had a jar just for it, say, a new pair of shoes.  So when I budgeted, I was way into following my rules, and very aggressive about it. Not necessarily a bad thing. While I would say I was a cheerful giver and even budgeted for that, what my dad just did blew my gasket as it took my paradigm of budgeting and stomped on it.
With a full on suddenly birthed inquisitiveness, I pelted my dad with questions on what kind of crazy pills he took to do that.  With sincere conviction and thought, he began sharing with me.  “Gunnar, that guy did just as good of a job, and for all I can measure, the best job of anyone else who bid.  It was clear to me when his bid was low, he needed the work badly.  He knew what the going rate really was.  And while he could have justified to himself doing a lower caliber job for the lower price he bid, instead, he hustled, he worked with excellence, and did a better job than I imagined.  That kind of work will really beat down on one’s body.  It takes fortitude and grit to do what he did for us.  I was thinking that it was going to cost more than it did.  Far be it from me to not give that guy what he was worth for that job if I can, even if we had agreed to less.”
Rarely am I at a loss for words.  But that is one of a handful of moments in my life that I was.  My dad rocked my paradigm, and I couldn’t argue with his heart on the matter.  For instance, we almost never went to a restaurant…we would order some pizza occasionally, but our budget was tight. The reason I had a job was to buy clothes, and do things I wanted to do because allowances were out of the question.  But my dad saw outside our family, saw this guy was trying his hardest to provide for his family, and wanted to make sure he got the going rate.  He took a radical step to treat someone else the way he would want to be treated…even if that was a far off, almost crazy wish!
My next entry, I am going to write how I think this act by my dad was able to bear benefit in my life that I will be grateful for.  Because of his sacrifice, I was able to benefit.