The Weekly Dream: The Gift and The Giver
“You never miss what you have until it is gone”
The holiday season is a time for giving and reflection, but for department stores, it marks the busiest time of year. Homes across America are bombarded with coupons, commercials and circulars advertising the latest gadget or must-have item. Around this time, I cannot help but reminisce about the times my brothers and I would begin to submit our Christmas lists to our parents, in priority order, right after Thanksgiving. These preliminary lists would be rewritten and revised up until Christmas Eve. And like most children on that day, we tore open the presents my mother spent all night wrapping. Saying thank you was an afterthought. Nor did we appreciate the hard work and sacrifice it took to make this day possible. It was not until we were older that my brothers and I realized that we had Christmas year round.
This year, we have seen an unprecedented amount of tragedy: hurricanes, tsunamis, lay-offs and just general misfortune. Yet, in the midst of this widespread calamity, we can still take those we care about for granted.
It is easy to get wrapped up in material possessions, the pursuit of nice things and ourselves. Especially in today’s society, which is driven by rampant consumerism. Shows like MTV Cribs and Pimp My Ride, where celebrities flaunt their wealth and seem to be in constant competition with one another do not make it any easier to be content with what we have. The result is that people are working for things instead of personal fulfillment.
In trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” what is really important is lost. Like little children, we are always looking for what someone can offer us, instead of looking at the giver, and the worth of each individual. This might be acceptable in a business setting, but in our personal lives, people should not be treated as disposable. People are not things. We are more than what we do, what we wear and what we have.
Putting Gifts in Perspective
Gifts from those that care about us are reflections of their genuine feeling and concern. It is a tangible expression of emotion, absent of need and obligation. Gifts without emotion become junk. A lot of people have too much junk in their lives: relationships and pursuits that do not profit. For some reason, people form attachments to things that they have no real use for, either because they do not want anyone else to have it or they are comforted by its presence.
This holiday, root out all the junk in your life, all the relationships that bring only pain and disappointment. We know what these things are, we know who these people are. And instead of wasting energy on these things, celebrate those who make you happy, who are faithful, and always looking out for you best interest. Things are just things. These individuals are the true gifts in your life, because they give themselves.
A car cannot call and see how you are doing. A house will not comfort you when you are having a bad day. Your “bling” will not cheer you up when things get tough.
What Can I Do?
There is a practice that I think we all could benefit from, and that is C.I.A. (Consistency In Appreciation). We need to make a consistent effort to show our gratitude to our support system. The greatest enemy to love, giving, and sacrifice is ingratitude. Everyday, let those you care about know how you feel and the difference they have made in your life. This can take many different forms: a card, a letter, or a meal. Whatever you have to offer, give that in return.
You might say, “Why? So-and-so knows how I feel.” Well, you never know how long you will be able to let them know. Tomorrow is not promised, and a thank you today might be the last thank you that person may hear from you. And when they are gone, all you have left are regrets. Things you wish you had said, things you wish would have done. Do not get fixated on the gift, the Giver deserves some praise also.
Where your treasure is, your heart will be also. Make sure it is always in the right place.
The Best things in life truly are free. Happy Holidays and God Bless.
Truth and Peace,
Steven M DeVougas