OOH! OOH! Pick me!
Remember when you were at school and the teacher finally asked a question to which you knew the answer? The desperate straining of your hand to reach above everyone elses while still technically remaining in your seat? Well, that’s how I feel today! I know an answer!
Don’t get too excited now. I haven’t discovered cold fusion or solved world hunger or even found a permanent purple hair dye, but I’ve solved all questions about what to give (and receive) for Christmas! (I know, I know, it’s waaaaay too early to start thinking about that – but I do work in a Church you know! It’s kind of necessary for us to look ahead to Christmas).
Anyway … usually I begin taking special notice of any “I wish I had a …. “ conversations I have with friends and family and begin to shop discretely around this time of year. Starting early enables me to hide my gifts well (actually each year some go missing. I find them years later and have been known to attempt to give my 10 year old son the Thomas the Tank book he wanted at the age of 5 – his bemused, unimpressed visage never quite shone with the same innocent joy as I originally envisioned - for example see fig.1). But to get to the point – I do try and listen out for ideas for gifts when spending time with friends but there’s always a few that I have to ask – or worse – buy the “last-minute-I-have-no-idea-generic-bath-products” for. This year I’m skipping all that. If you have to ask someone what they want and think for months about what you could give them – they probably don’t really want or need anything at all. So this is my plan this year – everyone is getting a memory jar. I will fill a jar with little notes about happy memories of my time with that person – jokes we have shared, trips we’ve taken, times we giggled uncontrollably at the misfortune of another – you know the sort of thing. Then, instead of buying anything, I will donate to a charity (obviously this is a tad self-serving as I’ll be giving it to All Saints).
Actually, the whole thing is pretty self-serving. I recently sent a memory jar to a friend to celebrate our 40th year of friendship and it was splendid – it felt like I was still writing little notes to her in school and was waiting to see her face as she struggled not to laugh in class. I so enjoyed taking a little trip down memory lane and the more I wrote the more was unearthed and brought into the light of day. (Funny how I can remember the dress she had in elementary school that I coveted, but I can’t remember where I hid my first-born’s Christmas presents).
I can’t wait to get started with the mental excavating. And I think, while I’m at it, I will make one for me. Whenever I wonder where God is in my life, why I’m not hearing him, or when I am assailed by doubts I will take a slip of paper out of my “God and Me” memory jar and remind myself of a time in the past where I felt alone but hindsight told a different story, or when the right thing came at the right time or someone said what I needed to hear, and I will have a little celebrate – the relationship is there, it’s real and here’s the proof of the fact. He DID pick me!