Yesterday was the birthday of a very close friend. He is truly an amazing, awe-inspiring individual. I really have no words to describe him or what he means to me and my life. I really truly can only feel what I feel.
I was wracking my brain over what to get him for his birthday. Last year I gave him something I thought was quite simple, practical, useful, and also meaningful. (also cheap, but we won’t tell him that…) He love it. Like, loved it so much that he has since over the past year raved about my gift-giving capabilities. This makes me nervous. Because, yes, I probably am a great gift giver…but only because I am so neurotic about it…only because I cannot give a gift without spending HOURS–sometimes days and WEEKS–planning it or thinking about it or making it or acquiring it. I actually do LOVE to give gifts. But I hate shopping. I hate buying gifts. I hate searching for them.
Also, I hate expectations. I do not want others to know or think that I am a good gift-giver because that creates expectations. That frickin’ scares me! Because what if I mess up? And what I mean by “mess up” is what if I get it wrong? My whole intention with giving someone a gift is simply to say “I see you. I feel you.” That’s it. I want to affirm my friends and loved ones because the really close ones do that for me on so many levels daily! I feel inadequate sometimes when I think about the capabilities of my friends and then look at my own life. I feel completely on a different level…a different playing field…like the training field…like that small soccer field you played on until you were old enough to move to the regular sized one.
And since I feel at this level, I want my loved ones to know, even though I may not always be able to rise and meet them where they are, that I still see them. The true spirit of love that each and every one of them is.
This is why gift-giving is so difficult for me.
It started when I was in high school and I had a lot of friends and I wanted make each of them feel special. I would painstakingly labor over what to write as my personal touch in their card. Because back then I had no bills to pay and them money made at Eby’s drug store and The Dairy Sweet could all go towards whatever I wanted to get them at the mall. Then, funnily enough, when I didn’t worry about the money to spend, I would spend so much more time agonizing over what words to express the simple phrase “I see you.” Because when you buy a gift at the mall, I’ve learned over the years, you often have to justify it with something more personal and I think that is why people give cards with gifts.
I rarely give cards anymore. I think that started when I got more into hippy-ish, tree-hugging-like lifestyle. I saw (and still sort of do) cards as such wastes of paper and precious trees. But I still have friends. Fewer, now that I’m older and went through my whole I’m-gonna-close-myself-off-from-any-personal-connections-with-people-so-I-don’t-get-hurt phase. In fact, with my fewer friends now, I feel that they are all closer as well. I also have more bills to pay and less time (or desire) to go to the mall and search out a perfect present for a friend. Besides, none of my current friends would ever want anything from the mall. Also, some of my friends have expensive tastes. Or, they are just like me and if they want or really need something, they won’t let anyone know and will get it themselves.
Creativity with gift-giving is a MUST as you get older, I’ve discovered.
My capacity to love and feel has grown. Or, rather, my attention paid to it has increased. I cannot in good conscience give someone I love anything less than is an expression of how I feel about them. But, to sit around and think up something is useless and futile and never works. Because I’ve realized that it has nothing to with what I think about my friends, and has EVERYTHING to do with how I feel about them. So, I don’t decided what I’m gonna get anyone. I let them decide. And I feel it out. I’ve done this now for about 2 years. I’m not saying that I’ve only EVER given good gifts in these past 2 years. Actually, to be honest, I stopped caring about giving gifts–to anyone! I don’t think about it. If there is a gift I’m supposed to give to someone or something that their heart wants, I’ll feel it. I trust this. And sometimes this means that gifts are not always on time. But not often. Usually God inspires me at just the last moment with a simple brilliance of feeling and love in the form of a gift from Divine to me to the soul of a friend.
So, I still have yet to give anything to this dear friend of mine. But, I trust at the right time (especially with this soul that he is…) it will emerge beautifully, poetically, magically, and effortlessly from the ether from my soul to his.
Happy Birthday to All. Today can be your birthday if you choose…and I have gifts for EVERYONE! (: