The Gift

One night, while saying goodbye to some dear, dear friends, I received a box: a rather large box, adorned in sparkly pink paper and bright gold ribbon, and a matching lid with a big, beautiful bow.

A collection of gifts, gathered and offered with sincerity, thought, and care, from my friends.

Teary and speechless, I lifted the lid, and the first gift floated out: a cloud pillow, soft and light.

To rest my busy hands—the hands that do so much for me. Type. Take notes. Share stories. Communicate. Connect.

I look down at my fingers, energized and alert, always ready to jump on a keyboard; I look up at the cloud as it floats down to my hands, and I watch my fingers relax. I can almost hear them exhale, as if they didn’t realize just how much they needed rest.

Setting the cloud aside, I gaze into the box and spy a little house, handmade. I look closer and see it’s made from thread – a thread which connects each of us in this little community. I smile thinking about how much my cat will love to try to play with this – and how I’ll have to take care to keep it safe from her shifty little paws. I place it on the cloud, floating out of feline reach.

I turn back to the box; the gifts continue:

A telephone wire, a gift of speedy connections. A reminder that I have a community right here and I can always, at any time, reach out to anyone. I forget that sometimes.

A beautiful little ornament, one of joy and self-compassion and gentleness, which I can hang anywhere that will help me remember to be kind to myself.

A life-sized doll that has the power to transform into any one of my friends here that I need. Need a hug from someone at 3pm on a Thursday? No problem!

A snow globe swirling with pink glittery snow (a pink that looks oddly like someone’s hair…).

A paper with a drawing of a massive relaxation chamber, which, according to the description, can become literally anything I want or need it to be when I find myself taking a break. At the bottom, there is a handwritten note: “Too big for the box – coming via UPS. Must sign for it.”

And a beautiful conch shell from the beach. When I put my ear up to it, I can hear the voices of my ancestors and loved ones reminding me of my worthiness, goodness, and radiance.

Oh, wait, there’s one more, tucked up against the side of the box: a GrubHub coupon, with unlimited funds, as a token of gratitude for my service in this community.

Words escape me as I take in the magnificence of these gifts. My heart fills to the top with gratitude, and then completely spills over as I look up to see the final gift.

A mirror.

A new mirror.

An unbroken, untarnished mirror.

In it, I see myself, unbroken and untarnished. The tears begin to fall – tears not of sorrow, but of healing.

I didn’t realize the mirror I had been looking into for the past few years was still cracked. I thought I had fixed it after it broke – but my reflection in that mirror was still disjointed and fragmented.

But I couldn’t see that I was still looking at a broken reflection until I saw myself whole – until I saw myself the way that my friends see me, goodness and radiance and sincerity and passion and all.

That is really the greatest gift of all: crossing paths with those who really see us, and are willing and able to reflect back to us that which we truly are.

Those people are few and far between in our lives. And in this moment, I am standing in the midst of an entire group of them; an entire family.

Tears keep falling as I say goodbye. And yet, I remember that ‘goodbye’ is not really goodbye; it’s simply ‘see you later’.

… … …

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Photo credit: Ekaterina Shevchenko from Unsplash