Many moons ago before my oldest entered this world, I sat around the Christmas tree with people I loved as we were opening presents. I try to be meticulous when I am unwrapping a present, and even more so at this point in my life–as I have wrapped many a present and can appreciate the time and energy and resources it takes to perfectly crease and fold and tape. (And there really is such a thing as the perfect wrapping paper–as I have used the cheap that tears and allows for pre-Christmas morning peeking and I have used the heavier kind that doesn’t let the tape stick to it very well at all, which pops open and also allows for peeking. The perfect paper falls somewhere in between these two.)
When I finally got the paper off of the box, I looked at the outside and was thrilled. I mean, I hadn’t expressed my need or desire for a lamp, but if the picture was any indication, it was a lovely one and whimsical–two qualities I could and still can appreciate.
Only the picture wasn’t any indication.
As I oohed and ached and told the gift givers thank you for oh such a lovely lamp, I began to open the box. They both chuckled and one managed to look a little sheepish while the other teased, “What on earth makes you think it’s a lamp?”
Because it wasn’t, y’all.
I laughed it off, though at age 24 I suppose I was a little embarrassed. I don’t remember what was actually in the box now, but the not-a-lamp gift taught me a couple of lessons.
First, don’t thank folks for a gift until it is all the way, no kidding, you are touching it in your hands, opened. Just add that to your file on Christmas etiquette. You’re welcome.
Second, though, and more importantly, it wasn’t what it appeared to be. I thought I was being given something that I could enjoy, but it really wasn’t that at all. Instead it was something even better. I just needed to give it time to open and unfold. I didn’t need to stop at the surface.
And so it is with life, I think.
We have something on our plate, in our lap, on our radar, and we think it’s something wonderful or not so much, and we immediately start reacting. (“Oh thank you” “Oh no” “Oh my”) Instead, if we would wait and take the time to really dig in and discover what is in front of us, we might find out that it really is something quite different from what we expected.
And perhaps even more wonderful.
I was thinking about this when I was wrapping a gift for my oldest. I used a Vera Bradley store bag that a friend had used to send something totally not Vera Bradley-related to me in. Aub had been wanting a VB tote, but she has heard the story of the not-a-lamp more than once, so she was very cautious and said, “Well let me see what is in the Vera bag–likely to be hydrocortisone ointment or underwear or something.”
Or maybe–it might just be a VB bag…..that was acquired for a song from the GW Boutique.
Life can be full of surprises–and some of them can be quite fun.
Wishing you all a day of good surprises.
Love to all.