Things That Are Not OK To Re-gift
Christmas 2019 came and went quite quickly. Yes, it was partly due to a Hawaiian getaway earlier in the month, but a larger part of it is that divorce performed somewhat of a Christmas-ectomy on me. Ironically, my life is even more joyful since then, but it isn’t at all the same, so ignoring certain aspects of the holidays has long seemed like the easiest approach. Do I really need to drag out that nutcracker again? Only I know it's story now, who cares?
Of course, rather than analyze all that, the larger issue for me has been coming to terms with my new life. Happier yes, joyful yes, beautiful yes. The same? No. Even after years, certain aspects are challenging in ways I hadn’t foreseen. Why? Oh, but I’ve written some blog posts about giving up the need to ask why.
The truth is, if you are not in a place where you are questioning the why, you may have already decided on a reason. There is a big difference between accepting that some questions can’t be answered and continuing to make decisions from a reason that you've quietly continued to accept.
While I have preached on accepting what is and giving up on asking why, I hadn’t ever fully lived it out below the surface. I was merely taking the gift of detachment from why and passing it on, all the while clinging to my old way of thinking.
The why I’d decided on was that I’d done something to bring this all about. Well, duh! Of course, we must examine our actions and hold ourselves accountable in a healthy way for situations like these that occur in our lives. We all bring our situations about. Okay, that is true.
But the inescapable, underlying feeling was that it happened because God/the universe had given up on me, whether out of anger, frustration or disgust and sent me down this new path as a last resort because I hadn’t quite “gotten it right” and I wasn’t “worthy” enough.
So, here I am in this totally beautiful place, writing as I do about unconditional love and self-worth, doing life with an amazing partner, yet part of me still sees it all as a supernatural demotion because I didn’t do everything right and got sent here to a sort of “purgatory of a different kind of happy.”
My brain clearly hasn’t fully accepted the no strings attached gift we’ve all been given of unconditional love and complete and total worthiness that doesn’t have to be earned through any actions of our own.
News flash: God does not punish us… a fact which could be especially obvious as we celebrate the gift of unconditional love that came to us via a manger in Bethlehem. In Romans 5:8 Paul tells us that “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
He comes to us at our worst, to love us where we are and invite us to desirable, but unrequired change.
I’d been given that gift, held it, shook it, and yes, I even peeked at it. But I didn’t keep it to share it from a place of living it out.
In the truest sense, I’ve been merely re-gifting it. That’s much easier, right? You get the can of Moose Munch from a coworker and you simply put a new tag on it and give it to your neighbor.* The deliciousness is the same, and the pretty wrapping, but you didn’t fully enjoy it- you simply passed it on.
This is a classic case of “Do as I say, not as I do…” I was conditioned over many years of marriage to believe that all good things must be earned, even love and especially self-worth. I struggled to feel like I was worthy enough to deserve those things, and I went about it in sometimes destructive ways.
Even then, my heart was always certain that unconditional love is the most powerful force in the universe and that believing in our worthiness is the key to living our best lives. I’m even more sure about that now.
This is a gift that I will no longer simply pass on without tearing off the wrappings and gleefully receiving everything inside. From now on, I’m owning that gift to SHARE it from fully lived experience. It is okay to re-gift socks or a box of chocolates, it is NOT okay to re-gift the peace, love and joy that have been freely given us. Take them and enjoy them fully, you can keep as much as you want and still give more away. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
May the message of the manger keep shining forth in our lives, not just at Christmastime, but every day as you allow the gift of unconditional love and worthiness to be part of your life.
*Author’s note: I would NEVER re-gift Moose Munch…