Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Gifts

A gift should be reflective of the giver and the one to whom the gift is given. It should show a kind of thoughtfulness and attention to the needs, desires, and tastes of the one receiving, but it should also reflect the giver's choice and the giver's love. Most importantly, the giver's love.

In a day and age when registering for gifts at weddings and at the birth of a baby is common and expected, I wonder if we have lost sense of the beauty of gift giving. How is registering for gifts any different than filling our carts with what we want for ourselves and asking our friends to foot the bill when we get to the register? How often do we think of the giver when we use gifts we've registered for? Don't we think more often of our own tastes, desires and why we wanted those things when we did than we do of those who paid for them? Oh, I'm not knocking registering completely, it seems rather practical in many ways, perhaps too practical. Shouldn't gift giving allow for something more?

This is on my mind because of an incident that occurred at the pool today. A woman, a mother, asked me if she was seeing things clearly and if I did, in fact, have FOUR boys. No, I told her simply, I have six. Her response was, "Well then, are you done trying for your girl?" I was insulted. I know, I should be used to this by now, but still, I was insulted. Maybe it was her cavailier assumption that my family was the result my trying to have "my girl" that got me. I am SO TIRED of that. Do you hear me? I am so very tired of that nonsense and it came out my mouth,

"No," I said, "That's not it. These boys aren't about me trying to have a girl. That's not what I'm doing. This isn't about me." Needless to say, she and I didn't hit it off after that, but it got me thinking as these things often do, what if I had registered for my children at my wedding and chosen exactly what I wanted and asked God to fill the order?

Honestly, I would not have registered for six boys. I would have chosen a more "balanced" family and perhaps smaller, more reasonably spaced in some instances, but that's not what God gave me. He didn't check the registry, I guess, or maybe he knew better. Maybe the gift of these children was something I couldn't have understood when I was twenty three. Maybe I didn't know how these children, these six boys could reflect their Giver in a way that would lead me to the joys I now know.

If God had just listened to me and not tried to show Himself in His gifts, I would be so much poorer today than I am now. I would not have known these children, made in His image, co-created in our love, born in my pain, all brothers living here in our home. This is not the life I'd have registered for, and so I am grateful, ever grateful that it wasn't my choice, that these children, my family, this family, our family, isn't just about me and what I think I might want.