Sometimes life just rips us apart. Suddenly your heart, your whole self, or maybe your life as you know it drops into a cleft, what feels likes a endless chasm, until it strikes bottom and then it hits you: I am undone. Retirement signals such a change for some, divorce for others, for me it was sudden loss. Yet I am just one of many who meander through this painful time, and I write for personal clarity as well as for others in like condition.
The realization may settle slowly, fluttering softly yet constantly drifting downward nonetheless, and the sudden knowing feels just as stark as the clang of a bell when a brawny man wields a sledgehammer at the carnival. Either way, there comes that moment of when your heart registers the bleak knowledge that life as you knew it will never be the same again. Day after day, at least for awhile, we wear the hollow cloak of life severed from its original purpose, feeling adrift, feeling lost.
Take time to reflect. You may feel like the gift wrap. Gift wrap lies torn or crumpled after its been ripped apart to reveal the joy of a present given to another. Sometimes reused, it seldom lives on as pristine as its first wrapping. The frugal save it. Minimalists discard it without a second thought. The wrap bears only symbolic reference to what lies inside the box. Inexpensive and easily tossed, the gift wrap merely decorates the box.
The box lies empty after the gift is lifted from the security of its housing. A sturdy box serves multiple uses besides protecting the palpable love of the giver. It accumulates trash, stores treasures in the attic, provides a way to hold a jumble of items too disparate to categorize, moves dishes from one house to another…but a box always remains a utilitarian item, and at its pinnacle, a form honored with holding a precious gift. The box serves its purpose nobly, and then slinks back to the realm of less regard. After all, it’s only a box.
The gift, ah, the gift. Simultaneously the thoughtfulness of the giver and the joy of the recipient, the gift epitomizes the heart of the exchange. In everyday life the gift is visible evidence of energy transcending into matter, a thought taking root in the life of another. When life casts us down and signals an unshackling of the ropes which moored us at a familiar port, a familiar and much loved life, the Creator who placed the spark of life within us expects us to remember that the spark still glows. It may glow dimly perhaps, but the spark glows irrespective of sorrow or change.
We can adapt in a meaningful way to bless others near us, as well as others we meet on the street, for loss affects us all. Be the gift. Not the box. Certainly not the gift wrap. Be the person whose spark upholds and blesses, the gift in the hand of the Giver. Be the gift to someone today.