I’m not very good at receiving gifts. I recall when I was a teen, I much preferred giving gifts than receiving them. I suppose I took the quote “’tis better to give than to receive” more seriously. Or perhaps I didn’t feel worthy of receiving. I remember there were times I’d criticize the gift itself to hide my discomfort at receiving the thing.
I’ve gotten to know a few folks in my life who’ve helped me look at receiving gifts more graciously.
So when I opened up the little bubble mailer I received yesterday, I was pleased and touched. It was a small, beautifully painted stone. (I could call it a rock, because the artist, Laurie, rocks!)
With the art came a message of hope. And, really this didn’t come out of nowhere. I first became acquainted with Laurie’s “rockin’” art in March of 2018.
My friend Jan had come to visit me after the Yountville murders, and we met Laurie and her friend at the impromptu memorial on grounds. Laurie had created hand-painted stones for each of the murder victims, including one tiny stone for the unborn daughter who had also perished. Jan and Laurie hit it off right away. (Jan can talk to anyone — once a reporter, always a reporter, or maybe she just loves a good story, like I do.)
Later, in that dark March, I received a large, lumpy package. It had four lovely painted stones in it. The stones have mandalas on them. Colorful, meditative. When I hold them, I feel grounded, focused.
Now, in 2020, I have my Yountville stones on a shelf in my home office, where I can see them.
Just this week a stone caught my eye and triggered a memory. It was a good memory. One of a friend who cared to reach out to an artist who sent me a gift of color and weight. A tangible piece of hope, of caring.
It reminds me that there are good people in the world. People who have compassion. People who give with no strings — just because they feel like giving.
I’m saving my Yountville stones for the day we move into a house of our own. I want to incorporate them into the landscaping somehow. SO they can be admired and enjoyed by others. So they can become beautiful splashes of color, integrated with other things, but part of the larger design.
Just like the experiences and memories I associate with the rocks. They become part of my emotional landscape.
A set of positive reminders of human grace, kindness, friendship. Of compassion and care. I’ve learned how to receive gifts, now. I’m getting better at it, more open to it.
And every gift, be it of art, of time, of a hug or an understanding nod, of a poem, or a snippet of text that shows the giver’s heart–it touches me. I’m thankful. My new quote is “Tis good to receive.” I am worthy of this gift. At least someone thought so. And for this as well, I’m grateful.