by Jim Cooper
So, what comes to your mind when you think about the whole concept of gifts? For those of you who think in pictures, you are probably thinking about images of nicely wrapped presents. You might even picture one person handing another person a mysterious box or bag that seems to elicit our highest expectations along with excitement and anticipation. Is it big? Is it small? Is it attractive? Is it tacky? Is the giving of a gift something that is expected and done out of obligation or is it a choice that grew out of your desire to do something thoughtful, generous, unexpected and kind?
Now consider the emotions that are often associated with gift giving and receiving. Does the thought of choosing a gift for a special person cause you to break out into a full-fledged anxiety attack or does it bring you pleasure because you know you are one of those people who just seems to have a knack for choosing the perfect gift and presenting it in the perfect manner at the perfect moment?
While most of us think of giving and receiving gifts for birthdays, special occasions, Christmas and other religious holidays, let’s consider the gifts that people give on a daily basis that cannot be wrapped up in a box or placed nicely in a gift bag that might cost more than the gift itself. Let’s consider the gifts that can last a lifetime rather than that bottle of wine that seemed to create an embarrassing amount of energy, desire, manipulation and urgency to win it or steal it at the white elephant gift exchange this year. Maybe you’ve been one of those losers who were left behind to “whine” about not getting the wine or anything else you had hoped to walk away with from that party.
Hmmm…Intangible gifts. Virtual gifts. Invisible. Spiritual. Unbreakable. More valuable than diamonds. It’s big. It’s small. It’s appreciated. It makes a difference in everyone’s quality of life. Eternal by nature and they come with a lifetime guarantee. Now what comes to mind?
These! These are the gifts that are defined, refined and brought to life every single day for the people we serve with Compassionate Hospice and Palliative Care services. You see, this is when people are laser focused on quality of life and the completion of a life well lived. These are the moments when the GIFTS of respect, honor, dignity, comfort and presence mean everything.
Let’s consider the gifts that people give on a daily basis that cannot be wrapped up in a box or placed nicely in a gift bag.
The gift of your presence with a friend who is hurting. The gift of love that blesses your relationships. The gift of laughter when there are plenty of reasons to cry. The gift of CARE-giving. The gift of patience in an impatient world. The gift of encouragement to those who need encouragement. The gift of serving as a role model to someone who needs direction. The gift of inspiration. The gift of time. The gift of listening when the roar of talking is deafening. The gift of forgiveness in a world that wants to seek revenge. The gift of a helping hand. The gift of trustworthiness. The gift of silence to balance out the noise. The gift of singing. The gift of music. The gift of art. The gift of dance. The gift of hope. The gift of friendship. The gift of empathy. The gift of a shoulder to cry on. The gift of creating. The gift of serving another. The gift of empowering someone to be their best. The gift of kindness. The gift of dreaming. The gift of generosity. The gift of faithfulness.
These are the gifts that will last a lifetime and then some. These are the gifts that create legacies. These are the gifts that will bless you and the world around you. May you and all those around you be blessed with the best Gift Exchange you’ve ever imagined this day…this week…this year and in this life that you’ve been given.