One morning on the glossy boulevard a young doctor crashed into our room. The lights were off, as Sonya was sleeping, and to protect this precious commodity I tried to slow his entry, but to no avail. With no apparent concern for my sleeping bride he instantly transformed the mood lighting from “soothing blue IV drip lights against the canvas of darkness” to “shocking fluorescent.”
He skipped all customary niceties, like an introduction or greeting.
Without looking up from his chart he says, “So, you’re the donor?”
Now I’m sorry, but I think he should have known that before coming into the room.
Since he couldn’t very well follow that with “that gown is a good color on you,” he did the best he could.
He said, “You did a nice thing.”
Bless his heart (which is what we say in the south). The poor guy just had no clue what to say.
And a lot of us have had the same problem.
Some gifts are like that . . . when we witness them, we are left tongue-tied.
Receiving them is sometime more traumatic than witnessing them. We say “thanks.” But the gift is such that we don’t feel good at all about just saying “thanks,” and we want to do more. In fact, we feel like we should do more, maybe even that we have to do more. We devise all manner of responding in a bigger, better way . . .
But in the end, the nature of the gift leaves us helpless, with no way to repay, content to wonder in tears and gratitude.
Over the millennia Christians have managed to butcher the essence of Christianity . . . do this . . . don’t do this . . . vote this way . . . don’t vote this way . . . attend here . . . .don’t attend here . . . put this sticker on . . . wear this T shirt.
But in its purest form the Christian experience is one of receiving a gift that leave us overwhelmed.
This gift would be the undeserved gift of God’s Son.
Saying that’s “a nice thing” just doesn’t do it. And saying “thanks” seems to leave us wanting, too.
Rather, the nature of the gift leaves us helpless, with no way to repay, content to wonder in tears and gratitude.
It isn’t always settling to receive such a gift, but it is the best kind.