I learned recently of a man who gave his wife a lovely piece of jewellery.
And then left her.
She kept it for some years, eventually making the decision to sell it.
Of course, any beauty it ever had was lost way back when it no longer spoke of love and giving, but more, perhaps of duty and guilt.
It made me think of what really is beautiful to our eyes, and not for a moment, but for always, and the answer is that it has little to do with eyes and everything to do with heart.
Gifts are often given to alleviate guilt, to fill in that huge empty void, so often an unwelcome part of a relationship, the place where communication forgot to settle and make into a home.
I don’t know how to love you the way you want, so I will buy you this, once I’ve checked the price tag and been suitably impressed. I won’t even be sure you will like the gift, but you won’t be able to show anything other than delight, once you realise how much it cost me. After that, I can go back to not communicating with you for another year.
Lovely gifts are always free. We never remember the gifts that were bought and paid for, unless they directly reflect the level of communicated love we receive from the giver. If this giver always criticises and grumbles at us, then suddenly presents us with a pretty gift they just know we will love to wear, but have never worn before, what on earth do we believe of them?
Confused, no dot or com.
So each time I put it on it feels awkward for it is not something I ever wear nor ever have worn so why…….
Aha! I get it. This is what you would like me to like, so that you can like me better, because, then, I’ll be more like you, not me!
No longer confused, although I do wonder if I’m really here at all.
The giving of gifts is a free offering, without expectation of anything. Not even a thank you letter.
Otherwise, it is just control. Of course, I am excited to give whatever it is I am giving you. It could be my time, my smile, my kind words, my whole life, but I must remind myself that, unless I give these and many more similar gifts, freely, I am not giving at all, but taking.
So what do I do when my giving is not received as such? When it is, at best, unnoticed, at worst, rejected? Do I keep giving, fighting back the hurt and resentment that curdles my belly, or do I stop altogether and be true to myself?
Many have pondered this one but only a handful ever managed to get it right. I don’t mean a handful this year or even this century, but ever in the whole history of time. A handful.
For those who seek this blissful state of giving without expectation, there is a huge and lucrative business out there just waiting to welcome us in. There are ‘Find Yourself’ workshops, group therapy sessions, counsellors and psychiatrists all trained and qualified in this method and that method and many, including myself, have benefited from their wisdom and guidance. But there is no quick fix answer that works across the board.
I think it is a daily journey, as long as we are seeking a better way to love. And never giving up.