Giving and Un-Giving – Confessions of an Indian-Giver

I am writing this story down, but it is a story I have never spoken out loud…not to my best friend, not to my boyfriend of two and a half years…literally, to no one.  I don’t have a lot of those.  I’m a fairly open person.  I am ashamed of this story, and that is why I do not share it.  It also involves another person…a person that I care about, and would not want to offend.   If this person reads this, they will know who they are.  However, no one else need know who this person is, so therefore the details may remain a bit sketchy for the sake of a little tact.  The telling of this event could possibly offend them, as it involves me taking offense at their actions.  If you are reading this, and you are this person, please know that I am sincerely aware that what offended me was not you, but my pride, which is why I need to confess it – because I am horrified at my pride, and at the things it revealed to me about my character. This friend of mine recently had a milestone, you know one of those great things such as having a baby or getting married or graduating.  I was therefore required by social compunction to provide a gift.  And, indeed, I wanted to provide a gift.  I did produce quite an ordinary gift, but this did not seem enough to me, and so I gave the person, in addition to this gift, a gift that I had made.  I can see you already, rolling your eyes and thinking you know where this story is going, but before you go there, let me assure you that this gift was not shabby.  There were other people who I knew would’ve been thrilled had I given them this gift, and I was rather fond of it myself.  I did make it, but if I do say so myself, it was quite worthy of being given.  (Can you hear the pride even now?  I cannot even turn it off when I am preaching against it.)  Well, I did give it.  And the response was less than thrilling.  I was able to swallow that, but knew immediately that the gift was not as appreciated as I would have hoped and anticipated, nor was it esteemed in any way.  This realization was solidified minutes later, when upon being asked what they had, my friend pushed it under the table and said “Oh, nothing.”  I should insert here, that it was a decorative gift.  I should also insert that my friend is usually quite picky about décor.  In other words, I should have known that any unsolicited decorative items would be unwelcome.  So, in a sense, I was asking for it.  But, let’s continue.   As time went on, the hubbub of the event ensued, many things were brought out, gifts and pretty things shuffled around.  Here is where I begin to be ashamed.  I saw my precious gift, the one I had labored over and was proud of…it was crammed (literally crammed) into a paper bag, with things being set on it and crushing it and bending it.  I should also state that it was NOT a gift that crushing and bending would benefit, and would’ve shortly become something only worth throwing in the trash had this treatment continued.  I watched it being battered as if it meant nothing even as a gift because I had given it, if not for its worth, and (forgive me, friend!), I took it back.  Everyone was doing other things; no one was looking.  I took it back – brought it back to my house, and in time, gave it to another friend whom I believed to have a better estimation of its value.  What on EARTH was I thinking?  I don’t say this because I think my friend ever missed it.  Based on the reaction, they were more likely relieved at not having to pretend to like it by displaying it.   The thing I am ashamed of is my pride.  What did I think gift-giving was about?  Pleasing myself?  Apparently, I did.  When giving the gift did not give me sufficient satisfaction, I just took it back.  Even this did not hit me too terribly hard until a couple of days later.  I heartily justified my actions in my discomfort until I thought about Jesus – Jesus’ gift – and I knew there was no justification.  It stops me in my emotional tracks even now as I think of it.  What He gave up for me, for us…I can’t even fathom it.  How He left heaven and came to live like a simple tradesman; how He willingly suffered abuse, mockery and cruel torture; but even this only scratches the surface.  He suffers my ingratitude on days when I am too obtuse to recognize the worth of having Him as my companion.  He watches me disfigure His gift in front of others to the point it is almost unrecognizable.  He feels the hurt of my unwillingness to assign value to His gift simply because it is His at times when I cannot understand the gift itself and bears, with patience, my inability to understand what He put into it.  He watches me shy away from it, hide it, ignore it and awkwardly try to figure out how I am supposed to display it.  In short, I do to His gift what was done to mine – my little insignificant gift that was nothing more than something pretty.  And I do this more times than I am able to keep track of in a day.  How small I feel when I realize that if I were Christ, I would have taken it back.  I would’ve watched it being battered and hidden, and I would’ve taken it back, thinking that the recipient was not worthy.  God, how merciful He is!  I remember how I felt about my gift, and wonder how He can stand it.  How can He stand it without screaming at us or throwing down fire-bolts, let alone taking it back.  If I could feel as small as I do right now in finally confessing this and spelling it out in words, I think I could actually learn humility. 

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4 Comments

  1. zephaniah317 said,

    April 20, 2007 at 6:29 am

    …and how loving He is. He knew when He gave the gift that we were going to do all those things with it, and did it anyway. Good post.

  2. andy said,

    April 21, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Hi, its me again, I would be hurt too if somebody was not excited by a gift that I gave them, and would probably be angry too, especially if it’s something I made myself, like lets’ say a painting or a lil piece of art work, so I understand you being upset about that. But the way you compared that with God taking back the Gift that was given to us, I can almost hear a voice saying ‘You don’t appreciate the Gift of Salvation that I gave you, so I’m going to take it back and give it to someone else.’ That’s SCARY. But fortunately for us we have an Everloving Father/Mother (parent)God and an Affectionate and Forgiving Big-Brother, so we need to learn to forgive each other and also forgive ourselves. Thanks for sharing dear friend. andy.

  3. andy said,

    April 21, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    sorry I forgot again, by the way Humility is also a gift from heavenly, we need to receive it with joy and thanks, 🙂

  4. zephaniah317 said,

    May 9, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    You still out there? No posts, lately…just wondering…


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