Sunday, February 14, 2010

Giving & Receiving

This weekend was Valentine's Day. Some dear friends gave us a generous gift certificate to a lovely restaurant here in Sydney. She researched and found where an excellent place would be. A lot of thought went into the gift. I was thinking we might use it for my birthday but Brooks surprised me with reservations on Saturday. I was thrilled. I looked forward to it all week. Time for just the two of us to get out and be together and what a night to remember.

We drove into the city, down to Sydney Harbor, parked in a fancy parking garage and walked along the shoreline until we found our Wolfie's on The Rocks. Being Valentines weekend there were weddings happening all around. Bride after bridal party getting their pictures taken. Pretty dresses, fancy hair and makeup, handsome tuxes and lots of great shoes.

We arrived early so we walked about, did a little souvenir shopping and took some pictures of our own. We had a great table at dinner with the best view. I stared at the Opera House and Brooks faced Harbour Bridge. We watched ships come in and couples pass holding hands on their way somewhere important. The meal was delicious, extravagant and cost exactly the amount that our friends had given us. On the way back to our car we were holding hands and not just holding hands but liking how our hands felt in each others. It was all very magical and I didn't want it to end.

Thinking about the giver helps me receive. When I give a gift, it is out of love and my hope is that the person will adore and be excited about it. I don't want them to say "oh you really shouldn't have done this" and hand it back to me. I would be so sad. I'm pretty sure that our magical experience will bring our gift givers more joy in their giving.

We've been given a lot in life. Recently we've received so many gifts, cards, letters, money, boxes filled with thoughtful goodies and love. Its overwhelming in the best of ways. We receive not because we're deserving but because of the giver's great love.

Over time I'm learning not to put myself down. Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror and take the time to thank God for everything I see. For hair on my head, eyes that see, a nose that smells, ears that hear, limbs that move, a mind to think and create and so on. I want to live with a spirit of generosity and thankfulness. Giving and receiving with joy in honor of our Giver's great love.

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:68