Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What Makes It A Gift?

Sometimes when people gush over something I've written, I want to growl. Don't get me wrong, I also want to swell with pride and blush modestly and mumble my thanks and try to act like it was nothing all at the same time. It's just... this writing thing doesn't always feel like a gift.

I've always been able to express myself much better in writing than talking. I would 1,000 times rather text someone or write them a note or email than pick up the phone or talk to them in person! Chris soon learned that if he really wanted to know how his bride was feeling, the best thing to do was to sneak a peek in her journal. To this day if we've had a disagreement or a misunderstanding, he can almost certainly count on a text or an email or a hand written note to show up after the conversation has ended with me going silent. I will say, 14 years of marriage have taught me a lot about talking but written words are still my first choice of communication.

The problem with all of this, of course, is that people don't generally go around carrying clipboards and letting the people who express themselves better in writing carry on their conversations on paper, it just doesn't work that way! And that's why, when people exclaim over something I've written, I find myself wanting to explain to them that writing doesn't always feel like a gift.

The fact is, I suppose we all have those things - qualities that look like gifts to others but to us they feel, at best, like weaknesses and at worst like more of a curse. God's gifts aren't always wrapped in the fancy paper that I expect them to be and the plain, brown paper or rumpled Walmart bag doesn't make the gift any less a gift when accepted gratefully from the hand of the Giver. I know all that, but I still catch myself expecting the gifts to be in fancy paper with a big bow on top and come away from Sunday school class chastising myself thoroughly for sitting there silently Sunday after Sunday or berate my ineptness at spontanious hospitality and friendly chit chat.

By now you may be wondering what my point is. "Is she trying to get us to say how wonderful her writing is and please don't stop and yes, it is a gift??" No, that's not my point.

It's just this: It's so easy to look at the people around me and see the prettily wrapped gifts I wish were mine. And so easy to see only plain brown paper and rumpled Walmart bags in my own selection of gifts.

Sometimes it does us good to remember that what looks like a shiny gift to me may be the very thing that feels like plain brown paper to her. And those rumpled Walmart bags that are all I have to offer? Well, it could very well be that those might look like shiny paper and big fancy bows to her!

"But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand." Isaiah 64:8


Shannon said...

Yes and yes. I get this.

Miller scribe said...

I can so identify with this! I'm the odd ball who actually prays I'll reach a machine so I don't have to talk to a real person. Yes please, for clipboards! :) But I'm really struggling right now with the few who totally don't get me when it's in writing, those who see my rumpled Walmart bag and imply "that's not a gift worth sharing". Thank you for writing this- for giving me food for thought.

dorcas showalter said...

So.very.true!! I've had ladies say to me- oh I wish I could be like you , or I wish I could do everything so effortless like you do. And it makes me feel so ???, because they have no idea the curse side of my "gift" , or the many tears that might be shed in private, or my struggles. And when they say that I just tell them if only you knew the struggles I have, out wouldn't wanna be me. Or just be content with yourself. I think ladies looking at someone else and thinking they are soo great, or it's not fair, stems from needing to learn contentment. Because my gift sure feels like a muddied ripped paper bag sometimes, but to someone looking on it looks like a silver wrappe gift with bling.