I’d been looking forward to the day for months. One of the benefits of our local theatre membership (aside from being assured a ticket for Hamilton when it comes to town later this year) is the option to swap out some of the regular season shows for add-ons. My daughter and I agreed early on that we would add a Saturday matinee performance of the musical, Chicago, to our shows.

Some weeks ago, I realized that my Better Half would be out of town that weekend, leaving us with an extra ticket. I posted said ticket’s availability on social media and tried to sell it on Craigslist. No takers. Anticipating that fellow singers might appreciate the show, I took the extra ticket along to choir practice. I was no longer concerned about recouping the cost of the ticket. I just didn’t want it to go to waste.

No one jumped at the opportunity, but with a bit of encouragement, a fellow member of the alto section—a woman whose husband had recently died—agreed to take the ticket. I was happy to bless her with an afternoon of escapism. And I was looking forward to getting to know her better.

With BH away, I had my choice of Netflix viewing Friday evening and settled on Our Souls at Night. Jane Fonda and Robert Redford play a lonely widow and widower looking for companionship. Fonda approaches Redford about sleeping together—strictly for the warmth of another body and conversation—because she explains, “the nights are the worst.”

Was I simply missing my own companion or was it something else that had me snuggling deeper under my throw, looking for untucked corners letting in a draft. Was the outside temp dropping? Before the movie was over, the churning in my stomach told me it was something else. The flu bug was making an appearance.

Meager as my food intake had been that day, it all found its way back up the digestive tract during the night. When my stomach was finally empty, I slept for a few hours. Saturday morning dawned, but I had no energy, no gumption. And adding to my misery—the growing realization that I probably would not be going to Chicago or anywhere, for that matter.

I gave myself until noon to decide. I sipped tea and chicken soup, downed a piece of toast, and nibbled soda crackers. I started to feel a little better, well, at least like what I’d eaten would stay down. But should I be putting several hundred people at risk for the same bug? Or should I do the prudent thing—stay home and regain my strength? I left a message for Deb that I wouldn’t make the show and let my daughter know that her husband (who doesn’t appreciate musicals) could use my ticket.

I missed the show, but I didn’t miss out entirely. Oh, I’m still bummed that I had to miss what was, by all accounts, a fantastic show. But the smile on Deb’s face and the delight in her voice as she told me how much she enjoyed the show were their own reward. I’m certainly no saint for gifting a ticket that I already had. And I’ll admit that giving up my seat to someone who would have rather have been at a NASCAR race grates a little. Still, ...finding a way to bless others in spite of my disappointment actually blessed me, too. There is joy in giving—even when it’s not entirely selfless. Click To Tweet Imagine how much more joyful genuine selfless giving would be. I need to be on the lookout for more of those opportunities.

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