I asked a granddaughter to describe her favorite gifts. They were those that led to discovery, that made her smile, or that helped her feel recognized and understood. She described receiving two clean mayonnaise jars for her birthday, one labeled “Quotes” and the other “Happiness." Inside the “Quotes” jar, her friend had placed 100 handwritten quotations on brightly colored post-it notes, each folded in half. The “Happiness” jar was empty. An Instruction Sheet told my granddaughter to keep the jars on a shelf and, when she felt sad or angry or frightened or otherwise out of sorts, she was to dip into the “Quotes” jar and pull out a post-it. It could remain affixed to a shelf or wall in her room until she felt better. Then she was to refold it and place it in the “Happiness” jar, available for future re-use, should she want it again. My granddaughter rarely needs to dip into her “Quotes” jar, but she assured me that every time she had needed a lift, the quotation – and the love and creativity that permeated the gift - helped her regain perspective and count her blessings.
In our culture, holiday celebrations have become nearly synonymous with the idea of “giving," and too often with giving gifts. As noted last week, Remembering is a first step. It must precede Celebrating and most definitely comes before conscious giving.
In order to focus on the expression of loving by “giving” that ranges beyond a specific occasion or material present, we need to ask what we might be able to give that would have value to our loved ones.
What might we give?
How do you give?
Why do we give?
What motivates you to give? What is your preferred mode of giving? And what do you most appreciate receiving? If they are different, how do you understand that difference?
Copyright 2017 Roni Beth Tower