My 16-year-old son wanted to surprise a special-someone with flowers. The problem – he was flat broke with no money-earning opportunities even on the horizon. Thinking quickly, I offered a suggestion. His expression at first registered disbelief, then utter scorn.
“I am absolutely serious!” I argued. “Think about it!”
After a few minutes, he disappeared out the back door, scissors in hand.
At the time, Colorado was thick into sunflower season. “You could go to the store and buy flowers if you had money. Or, you could go into the alley and cut your own,” I urged him.
He returned with big, happy, yellow blooms and bonus orange-blossom-bush sprigs. He also brought back a story. As he stood in the alley, a back gate creaked open. An older gentleman peeked around and asked my son if he would like to cut some flowers. Then, hardly taking a breath, he launched into stories of cars, business deals, and other adventures. My son, a people-lover, listened patiently and attentively. He surely made the man’s day.
As we tied the lovely bouquet with a ribbon, bound up in nature’s bounty was an offering of my son’s time and concern invested in another human being: an honoring gift in multiple ways for someone special.
Many of us who celebrate Christmas rejoice in giving gifts to those we love. Let me encourage you this year to think about gift-giving in a different way for at least one person. Allow me to invite you to go on a heart journey, to a destination where your heart connects with that of someone you love. A place that captures the essence of who you are, who your loved one is, who you are together. A place where creativity is worth infinitely more than money.
Recently a package arrived on my doorstep. Eagerly I ripped it open and explored its contents with delight, all meaningful items. Then a box within the box. As I opened it, happy tears sprang to my eyes. Nestled in tissue paper, delicate wisps of moss wrapped like a nest around reaching spears of grass. The bits of wildness called like a siren song to my soul.
Sun-dappled days flitted through my mind. I closed my eyes and sank into memories of two vagabond kids whiling away summer afternoons. There we were, stacking broken branches into walls, shaping a fort deep in the forest. Sheltered in the scent of pine, we whispered and dreamed. Later, the grass slapped across our bare shins as we leapt through a meadow and collapsed in a giggling heap. On our backs with one foot folded across a knee, we chewed blades of musty sweet grass and searched for pictures in the clouds. Rested, we pedaled our bikes furiously down a dirt road, sun hot on our backs, to a clandestine culvert. Sinking into the shade, dank and cool, we divulged our secrets. After dark, we clamored up trees while friends counted to ten in a game of hide-and-seek. We stayed out until our mothers’ calls insisted the day was over. We fell asleep, sticky with sap, earthy forest-scent tangled in our hair.
Holding these bits of wildness in my hand, it is all right there as if it happened yesterday: the sights, the smells, the carefree joy. It is a gift only a friend who knows me well and has loved me many years can give. It is a gift that opens the door into intangibles, into the memories, sensations, and connections that we will always share. A heart gift.
I hope you experience the joy of giving at least one heart gift this season! I’d love to hear your stories of gifts given or received…