I would love to believe the gifts have been continuous and unconditional. It would be nice if they were received without strings of expectations or recognition. While I am hopeful that both statements are true, I am not so naïve to think that reality is the same as my dreams.
As I think of expressing myself through gifts in the season to come, I find myself coming back to the ideals that others have modelled in their relationship with me.
I love gifts that have a personal connection with the giver. Sharing experiences and “things” with someone I enjoy makes the “thing” special in a way that is hard to describe. The stronger the connection, the better the gift! Great gifts always come with one’s name inscribed.
No strings, non-recourse gifts feel different. It is as if they come with a free pass directly to one’s heart. In an envelope that arrived yesterday, I found several items that had been lost but were found. Each item was, in its self, a gift! There were no strings, no requirements to respond. My mind was flooded with a tidal wave of emotions, all overwhelming, restorative, and hope filled.
There are no bad times to give. In yesterday’s case, the gifts were ones that had been missed. To my heart, each had arrived just when it needed to. My uncertainties and darkness of the day fled as I read and reflected. As good as they might have been then, they were perfect now.
I consider the ideals in the light of how I have seen a few react to the responses that followed their gift giving. “I loved them and now they slander me – yes, me! – and treat my prayer like a crime;” (Psalm 109.4) To each I said and would say, “When you give unconditionally from the heart to another, you are participating in a Divine act that can only be understand through participation. It is in the act of giving to others what has freely and unconditionally given to us that we discover its value.”