It's my friend's birthday, and she lives in Texas, so I hardly ever see her, but she was here today, and we had plans for lunch. So of course I got her a present. And a really pretty card. Which she liked. A lot. Like, so much, I was starting to wonder if she would ever open the present, lol. But she did. And I have to tell you - I already love giving people presents, but if everyone in the world opened presents the way this woman does, I would be flat broke because I would want to do nothing else but watch people open their gifts.
It was an eclectic, 4-part present, all from Ten Thousand Villages (which in and of itself is cool - i mean, come on, social justice and a present? how much better does it get?) - and when I said, somewhat apologetically as she opened the box, "it's kind of an eclectic present...", she said, "I would expect nothing less from you!" and that was a compliment. :) And then she proceeded to go through the box.
I probably could have gotten her anything under the sun, and she would have thought it ingenious. She took her time opening those gifts, and the delight with which she found each item in the box.... I'm not sure I've ever felt so treasured. To hear her talk and to see the look on her face as she read the tags explaining the background on some of the gifts and the explanations of fair trade marketing - to see the way she traced the stitches and read the labels - you would have thought every dream she'd ever had just came true. She loved it.
I thought, as I shopped, "well, she's very hospitable and she journals a lot, so..."
She thought: "someone who knows me well just got me the perfect present."
What if we opened God's gifts that way?
What if, instead of simply thanking Him out of habit for our food before dinner, we actually stopped and marveled at the way tomato plants grow? What if we rejoiced over the rising of the sun, and instead of shushing our kids, joined them in hysterical, uncontrollable laughter, in appreciation of humor and the freedom we have to laugh? What if we noticed, not that our shoes got wet as we crossed the lawn to get the paper, but that the dew fell and sparkled in the sunlight? What if we got distracted by the rainbows the sun makes on the ceiling over the kitchen table when it shines just so and refracts through the glass-topped coffee table in the next room?
What if the fact that we can breathe in and out suddenly floored us with an understanding of God's goodness and mercy?
What if the fact that we have clean water wasn't something we took so for granted?
What if a realization of God's incredible, precious, abundant grace suddenly broke over our souls the way waves break over the rocks on a shoreline? What if we suddenly realized (again) how desperately in need of that grace we are? And how blessed we are to know One who so freely gives it - at great cost to Himself?
And what if we really knew how to open a present? I think a lot more people would smile, don't you? :)