Updated: May 17, 2019
What’s the best gift you ever received? As you reflect on it, you’re likely to resurrect some very special life experiences.
The first one that comes to my mind was not without its problems. I was five years old that Christmas and I had asked Santa for a bicycle. My parents had warned me that Santa cannot always grant every wish because he has so many children to visit. What a letdown; I had been practicing for weeks on a neighbor’s 26-inch girly bike. I could stand on the pedals and coast down their driveway and into the street until I ran into something so I could stop. It did not occur to me at that time that a car coming down that street could have ruined my whole day. For me, coasting that bike down the driveway and pushing it back up over and over was scary fun.
Christmas morning dawned, and it was finally legal to head to the living room to see what Santa left. OMG! Could not believe it! There it was; a bright red JC Higgins 24-inch guys bike sitting on its kickstand in the living room all ready to go. So, what’s a guy to do in a situation like that? I pushed the bike outside, down the steps and up to the top of the driveway. I managed to get my leg over the crossbar and coasted down the drive to the paved circle in front of the house. I was scared, but I was doing great until I came to a parked car on the street facing in my direction. Since steering was not in my skill set at that time, and braking was not included in my previous practice sessions with the girly bike, I was out of control. My right hand and handlebar smashed out the right headlight of that old car. Blood and glass flew everywhere. Still, in my bloody pajamas, my dad had me on the way to the emergency room with a towel around my hand to slow the bleeding and a coat over my shoulders to restore some body heat.
My main worry that morning was being in trouble for smashing someone’s car. But I was so elated with riding the bike, that I was oblivious to the cuts on my hand or the need for stitches. My parents did not scold or punish me for sneaking out of the house before they were up, or breaking the headlight. My dad took me out with the bike the following day and helped me learn the basics.
Over the next few days, I practiced steering, braking, and falling. I fell a lot. But the bike was my ticket to explore, and I savored every new path and street the bike opened to me.
Giving and Receiving
The Best Gift Ever is not limited to a gift you receive. It can also be a gift you give. Giving the perfect gift is just as much, if not more fun as receiving one. I remember giving a vintage sweatshirt to a family member in hospice care. The shirt was emblazoned with the logo from his law school alma mater. He beamed at having a part of his earlier life to display in his room. This gift allowed him to share an important part of who he was with friends and staff. It was a great conversation starter when visitors and staff came to see him.
Sometimes the best gifts are not wrapped in a box, but come in other forms of love. I have a brother in law with the uncanny habit of showing up when I’m in trouble. He knows me so well he can anticipate my screw ups and shows up without being called. He knows how to help without taking over, and he gets out of the picture when normalcy returns. Sort of like the Lone Ranger “Hi-Yo Silver, Away!” Our shared passions for building and repairing things are very different from my or his individual passions. When we are together, however, my calamities have a way of turning into fun projects. Come to think of it; his gifts have also been the best ever.
When Gifts Don't Work
Gift giving and receiving is not always so easy. Even spot-on gifts can fail to elicit the unbridled joy of a 24-inch JC Higgins bike. But sometimes, receiving and giving gifts can actually leave us feeling stressed and uncomfortable.
I have two grandsons who live 12 hours away. I like those guys a lot. I enjoy just being around them, and I love them with all my heart. But I feel stressed when it comes to giving them gifts. I now ask my daughter for guidance. This is not the gratifying experience I want for us, but I haven’t solved this problem. Their lives are so full and dynamic that I cannot keep up with who they are from month to month. Good gifts require that we know one another in real time. That can be a stiff challenge during times of rapid change and limited contact.
GIFTS and LOVE
Gifts provide a window that reveals insights about our relationships. Giving and receiving real gifts is an expression of love for one another, and loving requires deep knowledge of individual and shared identities. Loving another person becomes possible when we know ourselves, when we know our loved one, and when we both know who we are together. Our identities are a synthesis of our life passions. Gifts that work are authentic with respect to our individual and shared life passions. When giving and receiving is mixed in with trying to please others, to gain approval, or to achieve reciprocity, the gift is not a gift, it’s a transaction.
The Resonance Process
The Resonance Life Coaching program is all about experiencing the energy, vibrancy, and joy that comes from living in harmony with life passions. This same process opens up new levels of intimacy and love in family relationships. You might say that the best gift ever is our opportunity to live our life; our life is the Best Gift Ever. The Resonance Process is a pathway to appreciating our wonderful gift, by knowing ourselves and our loved ones, and enjoying our individual and shared life passions to the fullest extent. Give yourself a gift and join us this process.