Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Accepting A Gift

Before I tell you about the amazing gift I received this Christmas I want to post a quote from the Second Counselor in the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk given at the Christmas Devotional, 

"Isn’t one of the great joys of Christmas seeing the excited faces of little children as they take in their hands a wrapped gift that is just for them?

As we get older, however, our ability to receive gifts with the same enthusiasm and grace seems to diminish. Sometimes people even get to the point where they can’t receive a gift or, for that matter, even a compliment without embarrassment or feelings of indebtedness. They mistakenly think that the only acceptable way to respond to receiving a gift is by giving back something of even greater value. Others simply fail to see the significance of a gift—focusing only on its outward appearance or its value and ignoring the deep meaning it has to the sincere giver.
Every gift that is offered to us—especially a gift that comes from the heart—is an opportunity to build or strengthen a bond of love. When we are good and grateful receivers, we open a door to deepen our relationship with the giver of the gift. But when we fail to appreciate or even reject a gift, we not only hurt those who extend themselves to us, but in some way we harm ourselves as well." (you can read the entire talk here)
I heard that talk at the beginning of the month of December and thought about the gifts I have given and how I want so badly to have them received with excitement and joy and not embarrassment or indebtedness. Then I observed my reactions in hoping that I have been a humble receiver.
I had that opportunity so many times this Christmas season. It was truly humbling. Each time we received an anonymous gift, I, or whoever else opened the door would shout out "thank you" wishing we could thank them in person.
Sometimes, though, there are some gifts that are so huge they are very hard to accept. But, when it shows up on your doorstep you can't give it back saying, "Oh no, this is just to much to give, I can't accept this" or "I can't accept this, I just can't."
You take it from your doorstep, walk up the stairs and anticipate what you will find inside.
But, this particular gift that I found on our doorstep the night before Christmas Eve, was going to be one of those gifts that are hard to accept because of the costliness of the gift.
It was 10:30 at night and I was downstairs working on DVD movies for family gifts when I was startled by a LOUD banging at the door. I assumed it was my friends coming for a late night laugh so I bounded up the stairs, swung open the door with vigor and started holler out "Hello!" in my best Mrs. Doubtfire impersonation, but stopped at the "h" when I saw no one there to greet me. I looked down at the front step in confusion as our last 12 days of Christmas gift have already been delivered earlier that evening... there was another gift sitting there.
I seriously thought for a split second that Santa Claus himself had sent this gift because the wrapping paper looked just like it had been sent special from the North Pole. I grabbed it and walked inside to take it to the bedroom and show Marc. Upon further observation I saw that there was a card attached and it had my name on it, "Rachael" was printed in nice handwriting.
I opened it and started to read.
Immediately I was shocked and confused by the first line, "Rachael— We hope this brightens your Christmas Season! Take some AMAZING photos."
My camera's aperture gear had broken on my camera so I wasn't able to take photos the way I wanted to unless I got it fixed or replaced which neither was affordable until I could save up or get a tax return. I was actually sad about it because I REALLY LOVE taking pictures and bringing joy to families and individuals by bringing something special into their lives. But, I was also willing to take a break from it until I could afford to do something with my camera.
So, as I was reading this first line my mind began whirling with ideas of what could possibly be in this wrapped box. Then I read the next line, "Please know how loved you and your family is! Love, Many Friends"
At that point I started to cry.
Many friends?
That's a humbling thing to read.
Whatever was inside loved me and my family and was from MANY friends.
Then I read the P.S. "Another lens will be dropped off anonymously tomorrow. You can pick up the 3rd lens when you schedule your free class."
At this point my tears still flowed but I went numb. I think I was in shock.
Marc's jaw is dropped and he is listening intently as I read this all out loud.
The last line read, "P.P.S. If you need to exchange or return anything—please do. We won't feel bad."
I looked at Marc and kept saying stuff like, "No way. I can't believe this. No way."
As I opened it I saw a brand new camera box with camera, lens, extra card, extra battery, a camera strap and a gift certificate for one hour of free lessons in photography! It was even more than I had hoped for. I thought it may be something to add to what I had already, or something to fix what I had already, but, no, it was an entirely new start!
A whole set-up.
A Nikon camera with lens and another 2 lenses still to come!
I cried.
Then I went into shock.
Then I sobbed.
Then shock.
Then giddiness.
Then thankfulness.
Then complete humility.
It's a good thing that this gift showed up on my doorstep, because I really don't think that I could have accepted something this big without feeling guilty or trying to give it back.
I have no idea who did this, how many people were involved or who even thought up the idea to give me and my family this blessing, but i do hope that they will somehow know how truly humbled and grateful I am.
So, for whoever it was that gave me this gift I want to pay it forward.
I have been wanting to be a part of this organization I heard about a few months ago called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (I know long name...) anyway, they have photographers who volunteer their time to photograph babies who don't make it to this life for long, if at all. It touched my heart in a way that I wanted so dearly to become a part of it. (I never realized just how much this organization would touch my life until the middle of December, which I will post about later.)
Now that I have this new camera I am going to submit my images and apply to be a photographer for that organization and be able to volunteer my time to making a difference for grieving families who have lost a baby before life was really lived. 
I just hope that when or if I am able to give someone the gift of photography that they are good at accepting the gift.
You can even give me a goofy smile, sometimes those are the funnest to remember! Sister loves being a ham!
But in this one, it's really the eye contact with the camera that I love!

1 remarks:

Lindsey M. Petersen said...

You deserve it. You are loved.