We’ve all been on the receiving end of a gift we don’t want. If you can’t stand country music, ripping off the Christmas wrap and finding a CD entitled Country’s Greatest Hits isn’t going to go over very well. Nor is a DVD of a movie you can’t stand, nor a food that contains an ingredient you’re allergic to.
In my life I’ve gotten some pretty bad gifts (see “Weird Gifts” https://reflections911.wordpress.com/2018/02/23/weird-gifts/)
So, when I get a gift like that, I figure there are four options:
- Donation to charity
- Sell on eBay
- Re-gift to someone who will like it
As long as I’m sure the giver won’t find out about it, any of the above can be done without hurting that person’s feelings. So imagine my surprise to discover a different kind of option:
- Give it back to the person who gave it to you—and tell her to give it to someone else
Well, that happened to me during Eucharistic Adoration. One of the women of my parish brought back two gifts I had bestowed on her. Now, these weren’t just a couple of things I had picked up at a store. They were items I had created myself.
She’d had them for over a year, but I guess she didn’t want them anymore. I could, she said, give them to someone else.
Uh . . . that’s going to be a bit difficult when one of them—at the woman’s request—was personalized with her first and last names.
Oh, believe me, this wasn’t a case of forgetting who had given them to her. She included a thank-you note addressed to me. I’m not going to say what the gifts were, but I had put hours upon hours of care (and—metaphorically speaking—blood, sweat, and tears) into them. It had been like giving away a bit of my very being.
Sitting there, holding them in my hands, I felt like she had spat in my face. Or, worse, slapped my face.
Okay, I get that not everything I give someone is going to be that person’s cup of tea. But why not go with options 1-4 instead? Why bring these back to the one who gave them to her? Just how did she expect me to react to the message that she was rejecting my gifts? Was this supposed to make me happy?
Anyway, I sat there at Eucharistic Adoration, mostly gazing up at Christ in the Host or at the large crucifix behind the altar. It occurred to me that this must be something Jesus goes through every day—giving the immeasurably greater gift of salvation that He put His time, blood, sweat, and tears into—only to have it thrown back in His face.
I admit I wasn’t looking for an opportunity to be more Christ-like that day, but I guess I got one anyway. Lord, please help me to be more like You in every way.
Even when it hurts.
Especially when it hurts.