She's hates me. She's hated me for 10 months. I'm not sure what I did, or what I said, or what reason she has, but it has been nasty. I've been told that I smile too much and that I'm obnoxiously happy all the time and I'm supposing that these would be the reasons for her disdain. Regardless, it has been uncomfortable. No... miserable. And I have my opinions of her too. They are not pretty opinions. They're pretty ugly opinions actually, thoughts that I don't think I'd like to make into words.
We'll come back to this situation a little later.
In my last post I asked you to recount the most amazing gift you'd ever received, and how that made you feel. Your answers were beautiful. I can resonate with some of the experiences listed. I also smile with joy at the ones too wonderfully unique for me to fully comprehend. Thank you for sharing them.
It's the season for gifts isn't it? People are shopping around frantically for the best deals. This evening while I was getting my nails done a grandmother came to buy this certain color of precise frosted blue nail polish for her 12 year old grand daughter. She was a little flustered that none of the colors were quite right. I smiled realizing how far we go sometimes for the perfect gift, even little gifts like nail polish :)
In all of this festive hulla-balloo, and given my conditions in life, I've been thinking a lot about gifts, mostly how I often feel so undeserving of them!
I'm 28 years old and sometimes I think I'm SO FAR away from where I should be at my age. It's a shameful feeling. I've had some amazing life experiences and I wouldn't trade them for all the money in the world (cliche, but true!) but in the end, here I am juggling my never-enough paycheck with insistent bills that I wish I could just ignore! And I'm still renting, budgeting things I never thought I could budget (like toilet paper), and in some moments fearing what's next. I just know that I could be so much more! I could be making so much more of a difference! People say that my parents are proud of me, but I can't help but think "Why?" I'm 28 years old and they are STILL coming to my rescue, often. I wonder if I'd have such generous love if the tables were turned. I certainly hope I would. I have the most amazing examples to learn from. Anyway, anyway... let me continue.
Recently, my parents gave me a gift. It was absolutely unexpected. And I am incredibly undeserving. I stood there to receive something, so huge, absurdly generous, and... well, how was I supposed to respond?
When someone gives you a gift, what do you do?
You take it.
It's a gift. Gift. NOUN. Something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.
So I took the gift, and spent the next several days with tear filled eyes thinking about the reality of my parent's kindness. It's absurd. Selflessness is so hard to comprehend! I just don't feel worthy of such generosity, and I also feel guilty in some way that there are so many people with deeper needs than my own. I realize that even though I don't feel like I deserve the gift, I know that I need it.
I spoke with a friend recently who asked "Is there anything in life that is NOT a gift?" Good question. Well, if that's true, and if gratitude and good stewardship are the proper responses... then I think I need to have an attitude shift in a few areas of my life.
I am living now with an amazing gift, or really LOTS of amazing gifts and it is ever important for me to think about what good stewardship looks like. And just as I've been given these gifts, it's another gift altogether to learn how to pay them forward.
So we drew names for "Secret Santa" and out of a whole mix of names I drew HER NAME! Immediately I thought "Hell no! I can't buy her a Christmas present!" And then I heard this voice loud and clear and strong (in my heart at least), a voice that said "Oh yes you can, and you WILL".
And I thought about paying my gifts forward. Maybe I feel like she is undeserving, but I've been learning very vividly that we don't receive gifts because we deserve them. We receive gifts because we are loved. Pride aside, no... pride trashed, it is an honor to bless her for Christmas. And I will bless her with as much generosity as I can muster because we are alive because we are given the gift of life and I must learn that we survive by the gift of love...RECEIVED, AND GIVEN.