Thursday, August 26, 2010
Please, No Gifts
This morning, a peculiar meow filled the kitchen. It was the sound of a meow with a full mouth. Of goldfinch. Yes, Dooley had brought a dead bird in the house, and wanted to alert me of his generous gift to me. He politely dropped it on the hardwood floor and looked at me. With deep, deep appreciation. I patted him on the head to let him know how grateful I was for his efforts. How thoughtful. Really, you shouldn't have. And here I'd just had breakfast.
Recently, I've been giving a lot of thought about gift giving. There's those gifts that you feel obligated to purchase. Shopping for them are not much fun. While the convenience of one-click, very little effort is made to buy something off a registry. And the recipient, while grateful, enjoys no element of surprise.
What about the gift you can't wait to give someone who has experienced either a great loss, a great joy, or just needs a lift? You race out to the store, pour through the merchandise, and find just the "right" thing for that person. It suits them perfectly. Joy. Pure joy to give this gift.
When we give a gift, we don't want someone to give one back. It diminishes the original gift. It's not a contest, it's something you want to do for another. Particularly when one gives a gift to another for no particular reason or event, the recipient doesn't know how to respond. Perhaps they think they need to keep up? But that's not what a gift is about.
God gives us grace - freely, unconditionally, unearned. If we choose to accept it, there's no way we can "keep up" or give a gift in kind. It's only love that prompts the giver, and the appropriate response is a loving reception of the gift.
What's your experience with gift giving? What about receiving? More importantly, tell me your regifting story!