Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Worst Gift-Giver

I'm a horrible gift-giver.  It takes me forever to think about what would delight another person, and so I abandon the task altogether.   Other folks present beautiful, timely, unexpected gifts to their friends just because they saw something and thought to themselves, "My friend would love this." 

I wish I were a better gift-giver!  I think of the kinds of "good gifts" God rains down--often beautiful, timely, and unexpected blessings.  I want to learn how to reflect that goodness to others. 

Yesterday, a former student of mine asks if I'll meet her on campus because she has a little gift for me.  Nothing special, she tells me.

When she arrives with some other students, she pushes across the table a jar of Coconut Satin and Silk Lotion from a little company called Soaps and Such out in Auburn, New York.  Over her holiday break, she figured out how to find some for me. 

"It's the smell you always commented on--the lotion smell you said you loved," she says, smiling. "You can't buy it anywhere but from this one place.  It's homemade."  

I open the jar and smell the coconut lotion that transports me to a tropical paradise. We all pass it around and lather our hands with it.

Last year, as I walked by this student's desk to return her papers, I would linger and say, "What is that smell?  It smells just like coconut!  I wish I smelled like that all day."

I'd be writing on the chalkboard, and I'd start craving coconut cake.   

It was her Coconut Satin and Silk Lotion.

That was six months ago.  

The student observes the tiniest detail and remembers.   It wasn't a particularly expensive gift.  It wasn't large or even wrapped.  But it changed my whole day. 

These sorts of gifts challenge me to observe and remember so I can bless others.  I don't know what I loved more:  the gift or the fact that she remembered I like the smell of coconut.

Living with flair means I observe, remember, and bless others with tiny gifts. 


______________________________________________
Journal Question:   Sometimes I experience little blessings all day that show me God is watching and knows all the things I love.  As I learn to reflect God's love, am I watching closely what tiny, simple things others love so I might give a gift to bless them?

9 comments:

Patricia said...

LOVE this, Heather. Love it! I, too, long to be a better giver of gifts.

I had something similar happen to me just before Christmas. You've inspired me to write about it. Thank you. I'll be sure to link to this beautiful post of yours.

martinawald said...

Since I came across your blog you give me a beautyful gift every day with your writing. Every day I can´t wait until it´s time to unwrap/open your site.
And you don´t even know me. :-)
Some people are good gift givers and some people are a gift.

Roberta @ Silverwalk said...

I am trying to show some grace/flair this year. I am passing out personal cards to my patients and families, letting them know I want to do very good nursing for them, giving them permission for feedback. Yesterday, I found some cards in my wallet I had picked up last fall - simple affirmations - I was able to give out two - one to a treasured mentor, one to a secretary who came on into chaos. I felt good but more importantly, they felt good. Thanks for encouraging me to share flair in my life :).

LivewithFlair said...

How cool, Roberta! I've never heard of a nurse doing that before. Share the flair--nice!

Ann Kroeker said...

The idea of giving gifts to people--it's just not on my radar. I have to remind myself to get birthday gifts for people, because I just don't express my affection in that way.

But those little just-for-the-fun-of-it gifts given with attention to detail, picking up on a comment and storing it away like that student did. Man, I'm impressed.

That's flair.

E.M.B. said...

I just recently did a report on Florence Nightingale. This post made me think about all the things she did, as a gift to the soldiers in the Crimean War. Since she was a woman, she didn't have to help (in fact, her family didn't want her to).
I think Florence Nightingale gave a gift to not judt the soldiers, but also to their families. She saved many lives and helped many people.

Dianna said...

What a thoughtful gesture - it shows how much that student thinks of you! I sometimes stumble across the perfect gift for someone; I love it when that happens!

Dianna
www.thesedaysofmine.com

jenny_o said...

I like the way Martinawald put it:

"Some people are good gift givers and some people are a gift."

Not all gifts are the material kind. Attention, validation, kind words - these are powerful gifts and I think you know how to give these when they are most needed.

donna said...

I loved this post. Your student truly must admire you for having remembered you loved the scent of coconut. You probably also gave her a gift by complimenting her choice of scent. I would feel she fet wonderful knowing you also enjoyed something she was wearing. So actually, you are a great gift giver afterall. the words of complimenting the scent could have been a bigger gift to her than you realize. I actually wrote a post on my blog christmas week all about gifts....I would love for you all to read it...its not all about ribbons and bows. we can all be gifts to one another....Im so happy I read this today...
www.takeamomentforinspiration.blogspot.com