Thursday, December 04, 2008

Talk Thursday: The Gift

Love maybe the greatest gift a parent can give their child. It is the greatest gift we can give of ourselves to the ones that are close to us, those we share all aspects of our lives. It is love that makes the world go round, or so I have heard it said many times before.

But I believe the second greatest gift my parents ever gave me was my independence. All the while they were giving me the best of themselves they were teaching me to stand on my own two feet. To not wait for someone else to do it for me, but to jump in and do it for myself. To dare to be capable, dependable, independent not hamstrung by my gender, halted by my momentary circumstances, or stopped cold by someone else’s reality. My parents did not chain us to them through family traditions, but said to us, “You have a family now make your own traditions, rejoice in your family, and love with your whole hearts.”

Or maybe that gift was curiosity? It drives my husband crazy when he ask me a question and I run to my almanac, dictionary, or computer to find out the answer because I didn’t know when he asked. I have to know. Not to be a know it all, but because what good is this intelligence God gave me, this thirst for knowledge and understanding if I have no curiosity to learn more? I want to learn, I want to know more, I want to understand the whys and wherefores, and the what to’s. I want to know that Venus is never more than 48 degrees from the Sun. Or that Northern ocean currents runs clockwise (for the most part) and yet southern ocean currents run counter clockwise. I want to know that the group T’Pau was named after a Vulcan Princess on Star Trek, that Peter Noone named his group Herman’s Hermits, because all the good band names were taken. That David Bowie is considered the Chameleon of Rock, Jim Morrison was nicknamed the Iguana, or Marc Bolan the lead singer of T-Rex.

Could that second special gift have been the compassion for others that I feel? I remember once my father stopping to give money to a vet standing on the side of Highway 101 in Northern California, back when a homeless vet was really a homeless Vet. Today I always wonder; I maybe compassionate but I am also cautious. Or the time he stopped to pick up a hitch hiking Sailor and got mugged for the effort. He never gave up believing in people, he always seemed to put himself in their shoes. I remember my mother helping a woman down the street leave her abusive husband; I also remember not turning her back on her when she went back (she didn’t help her again, but she didn’t give up on her either.)

How do you measure the value of one gift over that of another? I’m not sure you can. What I do know is that the greatest gifts are not the ones you can hold in your hands (well unless it’s a grandchild.) They are not material in substance, nor limited in quantity, just by their quality and intent. They are not given with strings; they are given with a whole and pure heart. They are not gifts that are given with an expectant return, but are given with a thought of paying it forward. Those of us who receive these gifts incredibly blessed; those who can give those gifts of themselves are blessed even more.



Phoenix Touch said...

Beautifully put! Thank you for picking this topic.
Love you!

Kristen said...

This is a beautiful post, Cele, grounded in the kind of reality that lifts us up and onward (I am grateful that I stopped by to read). I truly look forward to further reading from you, for you have a deeply beautiful and graceful way about your writing. . . . So, thanks for sharing yourself here :)

Most Sincerely,

afod said...

A very thoughtful and introspective post. We all have our gifts and I was happy to see some of those same gifts listed here. Ohhhh the days when picking up hitchhikers was commonplace. We used to be such a helpful and compassionate society until some people decided to take advantage of those gifts.

foundinidaho said...


Beautifully put. I read a post over at Dooce about six (?) months ago about giving, and why Heather always gives to the guy who's standing there with a sign asking for money and it really inspired me. I do the same thing now if I can stop. I am so incredibly blessed, why not share as much as possible?

Cele said...

Abgue, I loved this topic it was really introspective and a growth process.

Kristen, welcome and thank you for your kind words. Happy Christmas.

Steve, maybe the world will come around to a better place. Cross your fingers, here's to wishful thinking.

Fii, the thing about being blessed is reveling in the knowledge and sharing the wealth of being blessed. Thank you for the lesson and insight.