I am not a big fan of returning gifts. Even as I think it is fine for others, I take a different path for myself when it comes I receive. To be clear, there are gifts that come my way that are nothing like I expect or would normally consider. The nuance is in what I do when I receive the unexpected.
My goal, triggered by a reaction that I wish I could undo, is to accept with a smile and commitment to enjoy the gift as best as I can. Over a decade ago, I received a gift from someone who cared. The gift had, from the giver’s perspective, my name written all over! Hand crafted, wood based, and environmental friendly – it was a wonderful and unique combination.
At the time, I smiled and laugh. If I had stopped there, I doubt my sadness looking back would be so deep. I carried on. I questioned the judgement and links to me. With the wisdom of time, the links to me have always been there. While the combination did not work when it was put together, the potential and fit were obvious. My response ignored the thought and effort that had gone into the selection. A thoughtful gesture was cynically rejected and ridiculed.
As I think back, my awareness of my actions has grown over time. I doubt the specifics of what I said are remembered by anyone present. What is etched is an act of rejection and the pain that always comes with it. It was and is a living example of a psalm where “their sins recorded forever before God, but they themselves sunk in oblivion.” (Psalm 109.15)
I cannot undo what was done. I can learn, be accountable for yesterday, and act with the learnings in the present. The lasting impact can be positive if I am willing to make it that way. In every instance, relationships trump things and compassion takes precedence over justice. Life may not be a perfect fit; however, it is a wonderful opportunity to express beauty and hope.