I have long seen life as a series of lessons - long being something around the 40-year mark - but that vision of life has been giving way lately to a new vision: of life as a series of gifts. Hold up there, buckaroo, don't get too excited. You know that dry-as-a-bone, you-can't-believe-people-would-let-this-stuff-invade-their-mouths fruitcake you got from Aunt Mildred last Christmas? That's a gift. So is the ugliest sweater you ever got and hoped never to be forced to wear in public. Don't be getting all giddy with excitement about the idea of an infinite series of gifts coming your way; just because it's a gift doesn't mean you're going to like it. And I'm here to tell you, friends, sometimes I don't like it.
Lessons are supposed to teach us something; gifts don't have that kind of baggage attached to them. They are simply given, and we can do whatever we want with them. Ever been given a gift that you stuck in a drawer and then months later found just when you needed whatever it was? Serendipity! So that's what I'm seeing: even the stuff that seems boring or stupid or just plain painful will eventually unfold into something really cool and wonderful, and I know that on the front end.
For a while I've been receiving the gift of serenity; lately I'm getting the gift of seeing my serenity crumbling. I don't know what amazing and cool thing that's going to help bring about, but these days I can't help but believe that the cool thing is in there somewhere, that what I'm experiencing is not just a fact or a failing or a lesson but an actual bonafide gift that is bringing something good to my life somehow.
Still don't like it. A pretty good groove is a pretty good place to be, and being shaken out of it is not making the top ten on my wish list. I don't wake up in the mornings perkily asking God for the gifts of grief and pain and self-doubt with a side of discouragement that I haven't gotten all spiritual enough to be beyond grief and pain and self-doubt. (Gotta love the ego; at least it keeps things entertaining.) I'm just going to stick this in a drawer for awhile; someday I'll happen across it and it will be just what I need.