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The Gifts We Are Given

So close to Christmas you may wonder if I’m going to wax on about presents, or even about what those euphemistically named “white elephant” gifts we all have around the house that are destined to be re-gifted or donated. Yes, a blog post on that would be funny, and I laugh to recall the culmination of my women’s group’s Christmas party. Once our “Yankee Swap” concluded, Marilyn* ended up with the huge, three-wick pillar candle contributed by Judy*. This behemoth was easily larger than a bowling ball and would break most tables upon which it sat or feet upon which it fell! After hoots and knee-slaps, Marilyn rose to the occasion and decided the mammoth candle would be perfect when she bought her new house, and she plans to gather guests at her evening house warming in the back yard to ceremoniously light the three wicks in celebration and for good luck. In the meantime, the twenty-pound candle will reside in her trunk and stabilize her car in slippery weather. Ha! She nailed it and turned the ill-fated receipt of the candle into a positive!

No, this musing is actually about writers and writing and how I’ve come to value my artistic community. Self-centeredly I wonder why all are not enthralled with books or moved by finely crafted prose. It’s why not everyone is captivated by music, appreciative of art, awed by engineering, gripped by motor sports, fans of athletic prowess, avid gardeners, and the like. All these are gifts—gifts to the makers and users alike, and all contribute to our varied world.

I delight in people who share my passion, but the “respect others” lesson comes again and again, nudging me to evolve. Evelyn*, in the same women’s group, helped me recently to rediscover this perspective. As she spoke about her passion for quilting, the fabrics, designs, techniques, and camaraderie, I was impressed with her words. I said, “You should write about that!” Her response was, “No, Rosie. You do the writing. I do the quilting,” meaning that we each follow our gifts and that I should take care not to assume everyone experiences the world through my gift. Point well taken, Evelyn. I’m growing in my acceptance of the value and expression of varied passions. How I feel about writing is how Evelyn feels about quilting, how Robert feels about guitar playing, how Nancy feels about cooking, how Christine feels about volunteer work, how Debbie feels about dogs. Now I can relate to their outlooks. What’s your passion?

*not her real name

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