One of my favourite bands sing a line that goes: ‘This is a gift, it comes with a price’. As the Christmas shopping season kicks off a frenzy of materialism and over-consumption – my thoughts have turned to those gifts that don’t come prettily wrapped with a bow. You know, those gifts that cleverly disguise themselves as a learning experience but turn out to be karmic kickings – never timely, not always welcome and often without clear purpose until you see the experience through to the other end.
For me, as for many of my friends and family members, 2009 has come with it’s fair share of ‘gifts’. Houses needing to be sold and lives started over, jobs and lovers lost, sickness and bereavement. Not exactly the sort of presents you’d want to find under the tree. What I’d term ‘random acts of unkindness’ if I actually believed in some sort of superior deity.
In life, we often get what we need. And if we need to learn lessons, then that becomes our experience, no matter how hard the teaching. But experiences can be good as well. 2009 has also come with gifts that bring joy: wedding celebrations, the ‘all clear’ from cancer for a friend’s husband, the announcement of new life as babies are conceived and excitedly anticipated. Our world holds so much promise and it’s gift to us is like a new day. It’s not what happens to us that matters – circumstance does not need to define us. It’s what we do with the gifts we’ve been given.