Life is a gift. Last night, Peggy revived the discussion of me enrolling in seminary and ultimately becoming a UU parish minister. She extolled the virtues of a sermon I gave last year about legacies and the gifts that we leave behind in the world.
Much like the adage about perspective coloring your reality, I came to realize that life is a gift. At times it is the unbridled joy of receiving exactly what you wanted and it actually being what you hoped it would be. Conversely, life can be kinda raggedy and shady such as when you receive a pack of no-name boxer shorts when you’ve been campaigning hard for a Playstation 4. Hmm, hmm, hmm, so shady, so disappointing.
What to make of it all? Certainly, gratitude figures into the equation. It can be a game greater and a game changer. Wants turned wishes turned reality turned bitterness or elation. Gratitude seems to be the coefficient that rides rough-shod over this equation. Do we embrace disappointment at the expense of realizing that someone cared enough to purchase and give something to you or do we acknowledge that thought b3hind the given gift? I’ll admit that I was salty about getting a bathrobe one year when I clearly stated that I wanted cash for Christmas. Traces of the saltiness lingered in my spirit until I awoke to a 41 degree morning in Claremont. That bathrobe made my post-shower lounging experience a bit more joyous. I was then able to access the joy of being alive and enrolled in a top-flight college. Trust me, I awoke in a graceless “ah, damn” frame of mind that morning; yet I emerged from my dorm room a grateful and gracious flower ready to soak up the sun and bloom unabashedly. Gifts, gratitude, being thought of, and taken care of can change not only our view of things, but also the things that we look at.
I recall someone mentioning that the wireless shower speaker that Anna bought for me was an odd and dubious gift. I disagreed strongly with this assessment because this gift was a want that I did not allow myself. I was not inside her head when she bought this gift for me, but it brought lots of joy and interest to my showers. I could listen to podcasts, sing along to Sade, or finally make a dent in the my ridiculously long Saved Videos list on Facebook. Most importantly, this aquamarine speaker with the gray buttons reminded me that Anna is a gift to the world and a dear friend to me. Moment-to-moment evaluations of our relationship can vary and shift, but the connection remains true. A gift.
So, I am grateful for her. I am grateful for all of us. I am grateful for all of those things, objects, conversations, ideas, encounters, and experiences that are the gift that is my life. Each of us is a love letter to the world, whether tainted, gracious, affirming, or unconditional.