Thursday, April 14, 2016

Three Things: Random Gifts

I love presents. I used to pretend that I loved them less than I actually did, because I thought it would make me seem materialistic. In the fourth grade I somehow imbibed the wisdom of Mr. Gary Chapman and his Five Love Languages. This includes the languages of Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time Spent Together and um…derg. What is that fifth one? Greeting Cards of Tenderness? Soul Nourishing Food? Oh yeah! Gifts. It seemed pretty clear to me at the time that inherent within this system was a hierarchy. Obviously a person whose Love Language was Physical Touch struggled with Lust. The person who had Gifts as a Love Language was too greedy. The other three were relatively harmless and Quality Time Spent Together had the place of particular honour because it is definitely Mary, sister of Martha’s, Love Language. We all know what Martha’s Love Language was (ahem, Acts of Service) and boy did she get a talking to! 

So my fourth grade evangelically saturated mind believed that liking gifts was probably sinful. Of course what I just wrote above is very sarcastic, but I do think there is some danger in categorising our expressions of love in that way. Whether we like it or not hierarchies emerge and people find themselves inadequately categorised into a tidy box. 

I have learned later in life that it is OK to like gifts. This week I got three gifts that came as total surprises to me.

On Tuesday I walked out of class and there was my friend Joanna sitting on the steps. She looked radiant in a long green dress of mine with her mermaid-princess hair flowing to her waist. It was refreshing to see her after the long day of classes and job hunting. She presented me a with a box of nine perfect chocolates as a Thank-you for being kind during some hard weeks for her. Joanna is very good at gifts. I think she loves to receive them as well. She also gave me the gift of spending the afternoon running small errands around campus and working out in the gym together, something I love doing with her but haven’t done for a while. 

Wednesday I made an excursion to the Public Library’s new cafe. Upon entering I was given a broad smile by an older man in a beard and one of those outdoorsy hats that have a leaping fish or a wild bear on it. Even though smiling men intimidate me I sucked it up and decided to smile back. I even commented on the donut he was eating, “That smells amazing! I could smell it right as I walked in.” To my surprise the man stood up and said, “Let me buy you one.” Before I had much time to think this over I was handed my very own bacon-glazed donut. It turned out that this man was the owner of the cafe and he wanted someone to test out the donut and see if he should order more. It was a funny, but charming interaction. I also got a free donut and you may know that I have a weakness in that area

Thirdly my friend Katherine, whom I mentioned the other day in the context of a thrifting trip, gave me an old sweater of hers. We like trading clothes. I go through my closet and find items that I don’t love. She does the same and we swap. So this time she gave me a split pea soup coloured wool sweater. Long, ribbed sleeves. Buttons on the shoulders. The perfect colour. It was the perfect thing to wear to one of my job interviews. Even better I had recently been coveting a sweater very similar to it. When I wear it I feel like a military woman from the 1940s or like someone on the British show Land Girls

All of these things were small, but as I look back on my week they seem to have been placed perfectly throughout to give me small boosts in between hard classes and stressful interviews. Sometimes I feel the Lord’s blessing in these gifts, even if the people who administered didn’t think they were a big deal. 


  1. Lucy Rose, I love reading your blog! Just caught up on 2 weeks of posts I missed whilst in Africa! Julie R.