My older son held a crystal in front of me and asked me what I thought of it. It was the tenth rock I’d seen and they all looked fine to me. Then he said he was going to give it to his brother. Before I could say that was nice of him, he added, “this one isn’t as nice as my other one, so he can have it.”
And so my thoughts began…
In one way, I can acknowledge that a gift of any kind should be appreciated. But I can’t help but be bothered by this.
First of all, a gift that is knowingly “less than” really isn’t much of a gift- it’s pawning off something that didn’t mean much to you. It’s not a gift of thought or heart; it’s more an act of convenience that serves to make the other person think you are kinder than your intentions are. It’s deception.
Perhaps gifting is an art that must be learned so that we might recognize a gift is more than an object. I am honored to receive a gift that shows a person pays attention to me and knows the little things that make me smile.
On the other side of that proverbial coin, receiving a gift that is devoid of thought or meaning just leaves me feeling sad and unappreciated; like I’m invisible. It’s worse than not receiving a gift at all.
When presented a gift that is completely not me, I force myself to put on my best gracious smile and say, “thank you.” I hope my smile covers up my hurt because even though I’m devastated inside, I would feel worse if I made the giver feel bad about the gift.
I realize that my expectations sometimes get in the way. I do expect people that know me best to have some idea of who I am and to be able to choose a gift accordingly. Or, if they are still stumped, just write a note; tell me why I matter.
Maybe if I can learn to expect nothing, then I won’t be disappointed. I’m not there yet, but no expectations might be just a gift away.