the gift

I received a gift today. It was a wooden box, tied shut with a rubber band.

I tentatively opened it to find, nestled amid white paper, three items I’d asked for: the wind, the waves and the earth.

‘All across the other side of the world,’ my friend smiled. ‘Gathering these items reminded me to be thankful for the things I have in life, the opportunities given to me. And I hope, one day, you’ll be walking in distant lands, gathering these things on your own.’

I lifted the bottle of sand and gazed into it, imagining the thousands of seashells crushed by the elements, now made smooth enough to walk on. I gently shook the bottle of crystal, clear water and marveled. It looked nothing like the waters we can gather here on our beaches at home. I looked at the picture, forever freezing the power of the wind. Then I closed the box and smiled.

I received a precious gift today.

It was a fragment of my future, a glimpse into all that life can be.

*

I have never walked on water, felt the waves beneath my feet but at Your word Lord, I’ll receive Your faith to walk on oceans deep. And I remember how You found me, in that very same place. All my failings surely would have drowned me, still You made a way…

– Hillsong

I received a gift today. It came wrapped in the arms of the Dream Maker.

‘Open it,’ He said as He tenderly placed the box in my hands. I carefully undid the knots and lifted the cover.

‘I don’t deserve this,’ I whispered.

‘Yes you do,’ He said, ‘Because I paid for it. And I’m giving it to you.’

My eyes welled up with tears. I knew I couldn’t bear the responsibility of taking care of such beauty. It would be like draping a necklace of gems on a compost heap. I’d be a fraud.

‘I… can’t,’ I shook my head. ‘I know what goes on inside me… how can I wear such preciousness when I feel like crap inside?’

‘That’s the beauty about this gift. It changes you, the more you wear it,’ He smiled. Then very carefully, He lifted the dazzling stone and placed it around my neck. Pulling away, He took a long look at me as I stood there, feeling awkward.

‘Beautiful,’ He said, and I knew then, He wasn’t talking about the gift.

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satisfaction

A good friend is getting married. This will be her second marriage.

She, Texan Babe and I were close friends through school and while the rest of us were happy being kids, she was taking on jobs outside and carving a career for herself. She’s beautiful, money-wise and has a certain measure of fame.

And yet… she has untold stories.

‘You ever sometimes feel that people just had better timing than you? Like being at the right place, right time and they were quicker on the uptake?’ Texan Babe asked me.

‘I don’t think I do, but there are times I question my life’s choices,’ I replied. ‘I wonder what life would be like had I been propelled forward by ambition… and not love. Would my dissatisfaction with life be of a different kind?’

‘So you do have days of dissatisfaction?’ Texan Babe asked.

‘Darling… the moments are there every single day. I choose what I need to listen to. Some days, I make the right choices and listen to the right voices. Some days, like the past few days, I feel like I’m slowly losing it… and regret fills me. But it’s life… and the living of it. Walk on. No regrets.’ I said.

I have, at many points in my life, questioned my career path.

Instead of pursuing a career in television that would have taken me overseas, I chose to get married and stayed where I grew up in. I look at my peers and they are editors of magazines, well-known creative directors in ad agencies, award-winning film-makers…

‘Don’t regret babe. We made bold choices others wouldn’t have made,’ I said. ‘And we only know their successes, not their untold stories.’

‘Sometimes… it would be nice to have those successes.’ Texan Babe said.

I couldn’t help but agree. There are many things I could do with a little extra cash. Take that holiday I’ve always wanted, spend more time writing for a proper audience, release the book I’ve written… but at the end of the day, these are things that fade into the night. I don’t take with me those items as I lay my head on the pillow.

I listen to the gentle snores all around me. I am surrounded by a house filled with people who love me. Yes, it does get cramped and yes, there are times I want to ‘mute’ the world and hide… But everyone has their set of struggles that we don’t know of. My struggles? I can deal with that.

And for what I do know about myself…

‘Lord of all the earth, how you care for me.
You have made me, You will save and carry me always.
You are faithful.

Your joy is my strength
Lord, You are my God, I rely on You.
I put my hope in things not seen
Your promises so true
You are faithful.

Always You’re with me, Your hand will lead me
My trust is in Your name
You are faithful.’

– A message from Spike at 9.02pm

We have a God. And with Him, we’re rich.

I am rich.

And for the friend who inspired this conversation between Texan Babe and me, here’s wishing you all the love and happiness you could ever want. May you be fully satisfied with life’s breath on your lips and may the hunger deep inside be finally sated. I wish you passion, fulfillment and great joy.

See you at the wedding.

*

How do we deal with that deep sense of dissatisfaction with life? When the things we have and do cease to fill that ache within, and we start to wonder if there’s something wrong with our person?

Answer: Christ fills all things. (Ephesians 1:23)

Not my playlist of depressive music. Not even the beautiful notes from friends and the Sister (thank you all!) although they help a good deal, but Him – and Him alone.

As I write this, I am reminding myself too… that there is no greater satisfaction than being found in the arms of the One who loves me.

To lay my head on His shoulder, to breathe in His familiar scent, to look up at His gaze of acceptance – completely disregarding the messy hair, make-up free face – and see Him smile with adoration at my odd quirks. To know that He reaches deep within me and connects with my very person, that He understands what lies beneath the surface of my words…

In a crowded room filled with people, He’s my quiet corner.

In a busy day choked with demands, He’s my provider.

In a solitary moment, He absorbs all that I am into Himself and shows me beauty.

He fills me. I drink all that He is into the very fabric of my being.

And I am satisfied.