Friday, October 09, 2015

Pathetic Little Gifts

Sometimes we give the most pathetic little gifts.

Oh, we do not believe them to be so.  We see them as great things, meaningful extensions of ourselves.  We infuse them with depth and emotion, in our mind's eye making them ambassadors of great and lofty goals and expectations - dare we say daydreams? - waiting to blossom upon receipt.

Until the light of day comes.

In that minute these gifts are revealed to be what they actually are: small mud pies offered (almost by a child, it seems) at the same time gold and precious stones have arrived.  The luster such things have acquired in our own imagination are stripped away, leaving the occasional mud pieces and sticks to fall on the marble floors.

The receivers will always be gracious of course; any gift offered as a gift is heartfelt and to be accepted as such.  The thanks will come but somehow it never makes its way into our own consciousness - we are still fixated on revelation of the reality of what we have given, seemingly shocked the fact that the reality is not as we had imagined.

It is not that we should never give gifts - no indeed, there are probably not enough gifts given in the world.  No, the problem is really within ourselves.  Sometimes we become so engrossed by the (imagined) deep and meaningful nature of our gifts that we forget the original point of giving the gifts:  they are ultimately never really for ourselves, they are for those to whom we give them.  And it is not the the receivers are ungrateful - indeed, they are almost universally very grateful.  What has occurred is that we have created in our own minds a vast and complicated story of how they will be received and what will be understood from them.

So perhaps in reality it is not that we give pathetic little gifts.  Perhaps what has happened is that we have given perfectly good gifts - infused not the joy of giving, but rather with the weight of things they were never meant to bear.

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