Several years ago, when I was a volunteer helping really sick cancer kids at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, I wrote Your Gift as a holiday message to our group of volunteers and patient families who had gathered to remember those we had lost during the year. As you might imagine, it was a time of remembrance, healing, and gratitude. Since then, I have tweaked it and updated it and shared it with friends, family, and community. Inevitably, and perhaps especially this year, I share it again by popular demand. Share it with others, or just hold it as your own.
We arrive in this world by circumstance and spend much of our life trying to reconcile the gift. We endure our struggles and ascribe our lot with the certainty of burden. Between the jubilation, pain and occasional humility we scrape a path that is ours, alone. In the seam of these struggles, life offers brilliance; the warmth of late summer’s sun quenching our shoulders as we gaze across a horizon of promise; the magical touch of a child’s hand who clasps ours for comfort; the flash of a smile from a heart who loves ours, too. We are placed here by chance to express a life all our own. Tear away the wrapping, therein lies the gift.
Our choices are many…perhaps too many. We wring our hands over “pearlized ivory” or “satin cream;” over the eight-place setting or twelve. We pay others to tell us how to dress, behave and raise our children. We fear our judgment, lest we disappoint those we allow to judge us. Many of us are addled by success; frozen by a world we herald as great. Others grant short shrift to such contrivance and lean forward into tomorrow.
Every morning offers beauty. Every day arrives as a clean slate, if we look past the indelible erasures. When the sky is dark, the wind unyielding and the news dire, there is reason to smile. We each possess the promise of greatness; to thrust our spirit into the light where our gift can shine. In the vastness of time and space we are but specs in the history of the universe, yet each of us possess this gift that is as beautiful as it is rare. The choice is ours, in this moment and every moment that follows. Look into the eyes that stare back at you in the mirror and embrace your gift. Draw those near who nourish your soul. Let others pass.
This season, take a morning walk in the silence of new-fallen snow; lift a child upon your knee and tell them a story about your grandfather; sit outside at night until the sky throws a star your way.
May you be held in the warmth of the season and your spirit soar in the new year.
Lord knows, we need a new year.