Giving of gifts is an art. A gift defines a relationship. Is one cherished and valued or is one just tolerated or disliked? A meaningful gift is always remembered.
Gifts Of Love
As a child, I was confused why was God happy with Abel’s gifts but rejected Cain’s offering. Since he was God what difference did it make whether he got the best or not. However, as I grew older and have been the recipient of gifts from various people, family, friends, and acquaintances I have understood the underlying principle of gifting.
Abel gave the best he had, the “fat portions” of firstborn animals. Meaning,, Abel was highly selective what he offered to God. Whereas, Cain offered without real love, not the best that he had, without any consideration about pleasing God. Abel’s gift was full of love for God while Cain’s gift showed his disregard for God.
We all know how it feels to receive gifts that are thoughtless and without love. It makes you feel terrible. And when we receive gifts that clearly speak love, they are memories that last one’s lifetime.
The Tea-Set And Mad Tea Parties
It was my seventh birthday, I clearly remember my new Aunt calling out to me in that loving, peppy voice, “Sherie, (my pet name), come here.”. She had recently married my father’s brother and was living in the apartment below us. Being shy and reserved I had kept my distance from her. I went down thinking she wanted to give something to my mother.
Conspiratorially she took me to her room and on her bed was a gift-wrapped box It was huge. I had never received such a big gift box in my life. Joyfully she hugged me, wishing me Happy Birthday and handed me the box.
I was transfixed, wondering what could be in the box? I rushed up to my mother filled with excitement and anticipation. Keeping it carefully on the table, my brother and I slowly unwrapped the box, nothing was on the cover of the blue box. With trepidation, I slowly lifted the cover and lo, behold, there was the most beautiful pale blue tea-set completed with cups, saucers milk jug, tea kettle, side-plates, spoons, forks, and knives.
Pronto, I was Alice in Wonderland, and oh, the innumerable mad tea parties I had with this tea-set, were wonderful adventures that defined my childhood.
Gifts That Make You Feel Like Sh*t
Then, there are was this evil Aunt who made me do her housework and listen to her marital problems after my mother died. Initially, I thought she would show her appreciation for my contribution to her mental well-being by being generous. Her gifts to me were usually cheap underwear, year after year. Of course, since my mother was not around to buy me stuff, I was grateful for anything.
But, it was then that I realized why God was angry with the gifts of Cain. They were not the best that she could give, and they were given thoughtlessly with any regard for ME as a person. The cheapest gits show the givers regard for you. They give out of the poverty of their soul. But it hurts the receiver’s sense of self. That deep core within us that perceives that one is not cherished and valued. The message is clear, ‘You are unimportant to me.’
The Bhagavad Gita on Gift Giving
“A gift is pure when it is given from the heart to the right person at the right time and at the right place, and when we expect nothing in return.
But when it is given expecting something in return, or for the sake of a future reward or a specific type of sentiment in return, the gift is of Rajas (impurity).
And a gift that is given to the wrong person, at the wrong time and the wrong place, or a gift which comes not from the heart, and is given with proud contempt, is a gift of darkness.”
Most Touching & Uplifting Gift
The best gift is the unexpected gift when you are down in the dumps. It gives an instant boost to one’s self-esteem.
It was a time when I thought the world was such a horrible place when I was kicked out without warning from my job. My confidence was in shreds, feeling alone, having lost faith in the goodness of mankind. Then I received a parcel from a colleague who was not even close to me. We just interacted on a professional level. The parcel contained a pretty blouse and a cute T-shirt for my son and a Chinese good-luck charm.
And, it also contained a letter, that thanked me for my help extended to her when she needed any assistance. (That was my job ) and then I read the most uplifting sentence I have read in my life “I will always remember you as the best office manager I have ever known.”
That sentence has been branded in my brain. After that, I have never been filled with soul-wrecking doubt about myself and my worth ever.
Giving With Loving Kindness
Kindness and giving are two sides of the same coin. You cannot be kind without giving something that is valuable. Your time, money, food, clothes. The key to meaningful gifting is giving with hearts filled with love. It takes empathy, compassion, and concern. The questions you need to ask “What does that person truly need?”
If you can, give with a heart filled with loving kindness.