Best Gift Ever

A group of people from different races, religious denominations, ages and backgrounds meets at our house every Tuesday night. After we overeat a potluck dinner, we begin our meeting with an innocuous question. I love hearing everyone’s answers. We always laugh, often are amazed, and every time learn something about the people sitting in the amoebic circle.

Not long ago, a woman posed this opening question, “What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?” Hhmm. A person could answer that question in a number of different directions, but I chose a gift that was just right for me, at just the right time.

We were not in the habit of giving presents to each other, because we were not bosom buddies, so my friend’s gift took me off guard. The gift also shook me, because she hit the nail on the head.

For years, I had written prayers to help corral my thoughts.

Recently, with the deaths of parents, I had begun writing more than prayers. My friend didn’t know of my writing, though she must have known that birds brought me joy and wonder. I treasure the now-filled journal.

A few weeks after this question was posed, I sat in another setting, and the same question was asked. Two days before, my husband and I were flying home from a fun wedding, but our hearts were occupied with our grown son, who was enduring a difficult situation. We wished to comfort him and to gain assurance for ourselves by being near him, but we lived in different states.

Our flight schedule included a dreaded, long layover. As we deplaned to wait, we wondered aloud about our son. My husband looked up and said, “There he is.”

My mouth dropped open. In the same city, in one of five terminals, at the same moment in time, our son walked in the same concourse as we did. We called out to him and that bear hug embrace could not have been a better gift to me.

This gift was unexpected, unsought, and the exact balm my mother’s heart needed.

God’s gift of Himself to me was also unsought, unexpected and just what I needed. How could I seek to know and love God, when I didn’t know such a relationship was possible? His particular, personal, unconditional love filled an emptiness where nothing else could.

Our Heavenly Father constantly sends enormous and tiny packages to us. Often we don’t recognize them and walk past, leaving them unopened. Be on the lookout for those unexpected presents of His Presence that deliver his love particularly to you. Maybe it will be a toddler laughing in the grocery store aisle, a heart-shaped leaf on a difficult hiking trail, or the changing color of a flock of doves when they swerve as one in the sky. What is your best gift ever?

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