A Gift

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Last night we went out for supper. Last night…of all nights…was a night we should not have gone out for supper. Last night, we could not afford to go out for supper, but we have hosted close to 500 people at the ranch in the last eight days, and tonight? Well…we needed someone else to make our food for us.

So off we went. We found a hole in the wall restaurant we have never been to before. As we were finishing up the waitress came to us and said “I will not be bringing a bill for you tonight. The elderly couple in the corner told me they were just so blessed to see a family like yours out together on a night like this”. We went over and thanked them, and I (as is my way) ugly cried and embarrassed the lot of us. The gentleman just gave each of the children a dime to make a wish in the fountain, turned and said “you’ve no greater gift than those children in front of you”.

We cannot know what our seemingly small gifts could mean to someone. We cannot know.

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I’ve rested recently. Not in the sense of sitting still exactly (but a little of that) but also in the way of pure intention. I have been alert these lasts weeks, watching for all the ways God was speaking, healing and resurrecting me. It is amazing what you notice when you look up.

Some weeks ago I was out for a large group jog. I took my place nearly smack dab in the middle, and oh, this night. It was one of those evenings when the temperature is perfect, the sun is setting all red and blurred on the horizon. The cows in the birch trees are grazing on grass that looks neon green. Two Canadian geese landed on the creek beside me, a storm of starlings settled on the branch, the air was filled with all the promise of spring and new life. Most of the runners wore ear buds…sun glasses…they stared at their shoes obsessed with the immense pain of kilometer eight. But here is the thing…sometimes we run so hard in the right direction that we don’t notice the beauty until we are forced to stop…until we hit that wall.

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Recently a woman I have admired and adored the whole of my life said something to me. If it had been anyone else, I would’ve shrugged it off, as we do when someone says something kind (Why is it that a word of discouragement near melts our bones but words of affirmation run off of us like water?). I let these words of hers sink deep into me, I accepted them as blessing and maybe even prophesy. Words that would have meant nothing from any other lips. There have been wounds healed that I didn’t even know had not yet scarred. There has been inspiration reignited that I did not even know had been snuffed.

What is it you are holding in your tight and fearful fists? What gift do you possess that is absolutely meant for your neighbor? Who is it, facing a giant, that would be so much  braver if you just stood behind them? What is it that you will not miss, but will mean the world to someone? What candle could you light for someone trying to make their way in the dark? What elbow could you steady? What leftovers could you deliver?

What…what gift is it you hold? Who looks to your for affirmation, conviction, forgiveness? Who is the recipient that is desperate…right now.

Look up.

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