한편 돌이켜 생각하면 자식들이 준비해 온 선물을 받을 때, “너희 쓸 것도 모자랄텐데… 뭘 이런 것까지…” “쥐꼬리만한 월급 받으면서 절약이나 하지 뭐 이런걸 사왔냐?” 하며 사양하는 말을 했어야 부모의 체면을 지키는 것이 아닌가 싶기도 합니다. 랜트비에 자동차 할부금 붓기도 힘든 아들이 기둥을 뽑듯 준비한 선물을 이리도 체면은 안중에도 없이 희희낙락 좋아만 한 제 맘이 부끄럽기까지 합니다. 그렇지만, 후회하지 않습니다. 아마, 선물을 힘껏 준비한 아들도 제가 호들갑을 떨며 좋아하는 모습을 체면 차리는 모습보다더 좋아했을 것이라고 확신합니다. 십여 년 전 아내 생일에 꽃다발을 선물했다가 “이거 얼마냐?” “영수증 좀 보자!” 하는 말에 실망하여 그 이후 다시 꽃 선물을 하지 않습니다. 그 경험을 토대로 저는 아들에게 “이거 얼마냐?” “영수증 좀 보자. 가서 물리자” 이런 말 하지 않았는데, 잘 했다고 생각합니다.
남을 칭찬할 때 애매하게 하는 분들이 가끔 있습니다. 예를 들면, 승진했다는 친구 아들에게 “좋은 일이다. 잘 했다. 그런데 너 때문에 승진에서 탈락한 사람도 있으니 대놓고 기뻐할 일만은 아니다” 식입니다. 남도 고려하라는 지혜의 말일 수도 있지만, 질투로도 오해 받을 만한 참 애매한 축하입니다. 그 사람의 진정성은 그 사람이 남을 칭찬하는 말의 온도를 측정해 보면 안다고 합니다. 고마운 마음, 기쁜 마음, 신나는 마음… 있는 그대로 열기를 다해 표현합시다. 우리 하나님께도 애매한 감사 드리지 말고, 호들갑 떨며 감사해봅시다. 우리 하나님도 틀림없이 무지 좋아하실 것입니다.
Show of Heart
Rev. Bryan Kim
Last Christmas, my son came home with a huge plastic bag full of unwrapped gifts for the family like a Santa Claus. I had no expectation of this and perhaps my daughter said something but all of my three working children prepared gifts for the first time in my life. It was an emotional moment because I have received group birthday gifts on occasion but this was the very first time that they all prepared gifts with the money that they have earned. Shouting with excitement, I could not compose myself as I opened the gifts. They were truly gifts from my son’s big heart. My son, who, not too long ago, was upset for receiving a huge fine along with pictures for crossing a red light, had spent a lot (?) of money. Perhaps, it may feel obvious to receive gifts from your grown children, but for this to happen after 30 years of raising them had me shout with emotions that I could not hold back. I continued to say “wow~” “wow~” and fussed over my son until his face turned red. Later, after composing myself, I felt a bit ashamed since it was Jesus’ birthday but my son was giving me a gift instead; but, it was first time for our family to receive gifts from our children and we celebrated Jesus’ birthday with endless celebration of loud praises for each other. Even now, I think back and it was a pleasant night.
In a way, perhaps to save face as parents, maybe we should have said when receiving gifts “you don’t even have enough money… this is too much…” “You should save, you don’t make enough, why would you spend it on things like this?” I’m a bit embarrassed that I enjoyed receiving gifts from my son who is struggling to make rent and car payments, never mind saving face as a parent. But I don’t regret it. I’m sure my son enjoyed my excitement and fuss over the gifts he prepared for me over the sternness to save face. Since my disappoint about a decade ago when I bought my wife a bouquet of flowers and she asked, “How much was this?” “Let me see the receipt!”, I don’t give her flowers any more. From that experience, I think I did well in not asking my son, “How much was this?” “Let me see the receipt. Let’s return this.”
There are some people who praise others in a confusing way. For example, like saying to a friend’s son who was promoted, “That’s good. Congratulations. But don’t be too openly happy, there may be some people who are not promoted because of you.” This could be a way to share wisdom to be considerate of other people but also a congratulatory that could easily be misunderstood as envy. They say that you can measure the truthfulness of someone’s praise by measuring the temperature of their words. Thankfulness, joyfulness, excited heart… let’s express them with the fullness of our hearts. Let’s give thanks to God with much fuss rather than in a confusing way. I’m sure our God will enjoy that very much.