Another day during Advent, another gift given…Today’s gift turned out to be an unexpected one. Our family had the blessing of a wide-open Saturday, and I intended to use it for what we now call self-care. I had planned to spend a half-day alone with the Lord: praying, reading, journaling, meditating. I’d settled this with my husband, and he was all set to take our boys out somewhere so I could have a quiet, solitary few hours at home.
Then he got sick…Sick enough that he slept until afternoon. Even after he awoke, I didn’t want him taking the boys out on his own in that state. So my self-care plan got postponed, and my husband-care plan was implemented. I gave him a few quiet hours of solitude at home to rest and recuperate. My gift of the day involved surrender–of my expectation and my plan. My sons and I also picked up lots of trash at the park where we played today, so that counted as our family giving on this day of Advent.
Then later today, while turning on our multi-colored Christmas tree lights, I noticed a gift on our bookshelf that had been presented to me more than 20 years ago. As a college student living in a nondescript dorm room, I missed experiencing the season of fall. I’d grown up accustomed to long walks in the woods near my family’s home, either alone or with family, and I always relished finding fall leaves and wildflowers. I no longer lived on a dirt road out in the country–instead I lived next to sidewalks and concrete. I mourned the loss of fall flora all around me.
After I lamented that to my mama, she sent me a surprise care package, with a host of fall leaves pressed and mounted on a piece of blue construction paper and secured inside a picture frame.
The paper has faded over the years to a cream color, and the leaves don’t look as bright, either. But I still treasure this gift because of what it meant to me all those years ago.