Simple Gifts — . . . And another thing

Simple Gifts An old shaker hymn goes like this: ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight. I love to […]

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Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts   An old shaker hymn goes like this: ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free ‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourse…

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Simple Gifts

giftsSimple Gifts

 

An old shaker hymn goes like this:

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

I love to look around my home and see cherished gifts. The rocking chair that my parents gave me. The cedar chest, also from them. I sit down to a place setting that my husband surprised me with one Mother’s Day. He has given me in no particular order, a wine set from Israel, a son, a boat, a bike, a Fitbit, a wedding portrait, passion and laughter. My ex-husband once gifted me with the best little Himalayan kitten anyone could hope for. I think all the way back to my high school graduation, and the cassette deck my sis had installed in my car so that I could listen to the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack. Gifts are truly treasured memories, even when your musical taste was lacking.

My best friend, Kris, the world’s best gift giver, is all over my home.   There’s the needlepoint that she worked on for a year and gave me for my wedding. The wooden carved clock that her father crafted, chimes on the mantle. There are the children’s books, specifically the Polar Express with a bell attached that reads, “May you Always Hear the Bell Ring Bon.” My most treasured sits in the back of a kitchen cabinet and happens to be a seldom used fondue pot. The irony of this gift is that it was my Christmas present the year she died. She died in September of 2002, but in true Kris style, my Christmas present was bought and labeled, ready for December. That’s the way she rolled.

My husband and I have been mulling over gifts lately. Mornings make for serious discussions over coffee where we tend to our philosophies our theologies and our ideologies. They often align, though like any couple, we have divergent thinking and try our best to not club one another over the head. This morning our discussion of gifts turned from one another, to all the organizations that need help as we move into 2017.

It has been a very odd year, this election year of 2016. Many yearn for understanding while others are quite satisfied with the outcome. But our specific discussion turned to our own charitable gifts. We give what we can. The church comes first. Then we have a myriad of organizations we support. The art museum. The Theater. A food cooperative that feeds the homeless. United Way. Girl Scouts. This year, after a spirited discussion, we plan to pool the family giving and put journalism front and center. We extended our NYT subscription. Instead of Christmas presents to each other, we will double down on  NPR and our local PBS. The New Yorker will be renewed. WaPo will be added. We will subscribe throughout the year to those media organizations that use words to enlighten, balance, dig and expose. It’s a small effort from one couple in Georgia.

Perhaps the best gift anyone can give or receive is truth.

Bonnie Barclay 12/2/106

 

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