Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wrapping Gifts

By yours truly.

My friend asked me to help him wrap presents for his daughter while he's out of town. I did it mindfully -- every cut, every crease, every fold -- peacefully and with a lot of love, anticipating the child's joy. I took my time.

I thought about this preposterous notion of holiday stress, which robs many adults of joy. Wouldn't it be better if we just gave ourselves the gift of time? Thanksgiving dinners that take days to prepare are swallowed in minutes. Gifts that are painstakingly wrapped take seconds to unwrap. The paper is torn apart swiftly, thrown away and then suddenly, it's over.

When we gift, do we take time to think of the receiver of the gift? When we receive, do we take time to think of the giver? Do we think of everything that must happen for that communion, that meeting of my gift in your hands, to actually happen?

It's kind of a big deal. A miracle, really. And it all disappears into the big black hole of pressure we've invented that has nothing to do with Christmas.

Wouldn't it be better to have a holiday without so much -- oh, what should I call it? -- all this "muchness" that dampens the very spirit of that which we're trying to celebrate?

To let time expand instead of spiraling into a tight wad of stress -- that would be a great gift for all. So, I'm not going to wish anyone a happy holiday. I'm going to wish everyone a mindful holiday.

As I wrapped each gift, I thought about my inner child -- that adorable toddler with diapers bunched up under her pajamas, standing next to the Christmas tree with a mischievous smile and eyes beaming delight. There'll be no more Christmases for my family: no more mom, dad in the nursing home unable to tell the difference between one day and another and me, alone.

And then I thought about a gift I unwrap every day: dawn. And the blessing of an even greater gift, the present I unwrap every breathing moment of my life: the love my parents and I shared.

You can't put a ribbon around that love, yet it is binding and freeing all the same.

I can't wrap or unwrap my other human family, either, nor do I want to, because they are gifts that give every day: my sweetheart, my friends, the people in my professional life and YOU.

I am blessed.

Every cut, every crease, every fold -- how are you wrapping the gift of your own life each day?

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