I’m trying, really trying, not to make this a rant. I’m just saying. There is a difference. As I type, I am trying to keep my written voice low and steady. No screamin’ meamies allowed.
This thought began in July when a house down the street from us put the makings of a garage sale on the corner of their lot with a sign that said, FREE. [Our Salvation Army went out of business (!); which means there is no local entity that accepts donations.] The pile sat there for day after day after day. Weeks later the lonely and neglected pile remained. Gracious, I thought, we have become such a prosperous people that we can’t even give away our stuff.
This morning, while I was serenely sipping tea and soaking in the heat from the wood stove, I received an SOS call from a relative who was shopping, totally bereft of gift ideas for certain loved one. “I feel your pain,” was about the best I could do.
The problem is that everyone on my list, down to my grandson, fits that description.
Our lack of want is stealing some of the joy, don’t you think? We’ve become victims of our own prosperity.
Because I’m not a shopper, I’m not a good gift giver. I’d rather clean toilets than shop in a store full of grimacing people listening to tinny canned music. And if I give into the temptation to procrastinate I find myself in the most loathsome position possible: wandering around WalMart on December 22nd, looking for some plastic thing made in China to wrap and give. Blech.
Because I’m not a good observer, I’m not a good gift giver. I really don’t remember which colors my daughters (in-law) love to wear. Or what makes my mother-in-law’s eyes light up. An organized person would have a little notebook and keep track throughout the year. An observant person would know without the notebook…
The fact is that it is easy to get gifts for people who share the same tastes and interests that you do. When you see/read/smell/taste/drink something you love, you know that person would also love it. Somehow, we often end up related to people who don’t share our tastes! My friend put it well: [insert name] and I always give each other hair products because we just don’t know each other very well even though we are closely related.
Perfectionism can also block the way. The search for the perfect gift, the one sure to delight, can keep us from getting something pretty good.
Thus far, the problem.
The truth is that it is more joyful to give than to receive. Do you remember the moment when you got it right? When the gift was opened and then the eyes opened wide? The little “o”, and the sucked in breath? The wonder? The delight?
Gifts should be an expression of love, not a tribute to obligation. How do we express our love in a way that is fitting, true, full of delight?
More to come….