Tuesday, October 4, 2011

for Stephanie

I was driving to work this morning thinking about my blog and how random and unfocused it is. I write when I have a minute, not when I am feeling brilliant, and I write about whatever is in my life and view just then. My thought was that I might shut it down.

But then Stephanie talked to me this morning and told me how much she enjoys reading my blog and that it does mean something to her. So you can thank Stephanie for this blog posting.

This little moment makes me ponder the flimsy-ness of all our lives. We are, generally, unaware of our own power, our own beauty. Over and over we offer our gifts, and these gifts feel so small we wonder if they are worth much at all. Or at worst, that we are a walking offense.

On Saturday a friend came for soup and conversation and brought her little girl. Sarah, aged five, didn't want to come empty handed so she quickly drew me a picture of herself and me, with a heart on each side of the page. She folded it up and gave it to me quite bravely.

It occurs to me that as we get older and 'wiser' we forget to give our gifts with the same sort of unselfconscious daring.

A while back I started giving gifts that came from my hoard of possessions. (And it is a hoard.) I sent my friend with cancer a modest diamond bracelet Steve had given me. I told her to consider it a gift from God. Her daughter was wearing it at her funeral, I think. I gave someone else a book I loved that had my notes all through it. Another time I gave a small statue I had enjoyed on my desk. These gifts seemed more meaningful to me than a bought thing. Of course, maybe the receiver didn't think so! :)

I am going to keep this up. Giving away a sweater to a person who would look great in it. Giving away boots because I just don't need three pair. Giving away scarves and books and jewelry.

But will I also be brave enough to keep giving my own self and then not critiquing my gift to death? I had an insight once that to go over and over my actions and what people must think of me was the sin of self consideration. Simply put - it is the SIN of seeing everything through the lens of me. What do you think of me? How did I come across? Who do you think I am?

I have grown in this but I want to grow more and more bold. I want to believe that my true gifts of self - whether they are a small part in a larger drama or a moment of conversation - are really a dazzling burst of spirit that imperfectly brings LIFE.

What is true, what is given with love, what is full of humor - these things are beyond critique. So draw your little picture and fold it up carefully and give it with spirit!

And thanks Stephanie for giving me your gift this morning.


Sarah J said...

As a lucky recipient of numerous "Marilyn gifts," I must say that your gifts are always received (at least by me) with joy, especially if they were once yours. You are, indeed, a "true gift" giver.

Krissi said...

I would cry if you shut down your blog. No joke. Being 2,500 miles away, now, it's the only conversation I have with you about what you're thinking about, even though it's really just you writing on your blog.

Stephanie Lyell said...

Marilyn, I was quite delighted when I saw your blog post today. It is quite fitting that your post was on gifts, because this was a gift to me. I love reading your blog, and hearing your thoughts, so to know that somehow, in a little way, I touched you, well that was very neat :) And I am so happy that you will keep writing here...I will definitely continue read it!

Wendy K. said...

One woman's randomness is another's providence :-) Your blog has blessed me in many ways. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Lee Ann said...

I always wait with excited anticipation when I click on the bookmark for your blog. My heart gives a little leap of joy when I see a new post. Most of the time it is just what I need for the day. If you ever decide to stop, please give us plenty of notice so we can talk you out of it!

Karla said...

So, I too have been reflecting on all the little gifts you have given in kind and of yourself. The most recent (aside from your wonderful blog words) a little sprig of basil that I could not eat but put in water on my counter in a little vase to enjoy its perfume, its green leaves and to think of its giver! So thankful for your courage in life and how you share the truth that you know.