Thursday, December 24, 2020

Gifts Left on the Table

We have a couple of young crabapple trees just East of our driveway that managed to be moderately successful this year.  Most of the fruit remains on the trees - available for the recent hoar frost to decorate as it saw fit.  The birds did not avail themselves of the gift these little fruits provided in the Fall.  

This is not unusual as I have noticed this for many of our fruit bearing plants as we enter the coldest months.  It is normal for some of the fruit on the highbush cranberries to remain into the winter, for example. And, our apple trees have some ugly fruit still dangling from some of their limbs - usually on the ones that are pretty difficult for the humans to reach.

I know what will happen to most of these fruit.  In the early stages of Spring, the earliest returning birds will find these wrinkled fruits and consume them at a time when this will be part of a limited food supply.  These gifts left on the table serve a purpose - the time for opening the gift is just not now.

Recently, Tammy worked to arrange for lunches from a local restaurant to be brought to students at Wartburg who may be fighting food insecurity right now.  The whole story includes generosity from a local church and efforts by some Wartburg staff members who help run the St Elizabeth's Bread Basket at the college.  

A certain number of students signed up to receive these meals - and many showed up and were, I assume, appropriately gracious in accepting the help this provided.  But some who signed up did not show up at the designated time to accept the gift of food - some of the meals were left on the table.

Who knows what the reasons might be for someone missing the pick-up time?  I am sure the list of circumstances and events that might cause a person to miss any event is quite long and I am hopeful that every meal got where it needed to go eventually.

Don't take me wrong.  I am not criticizing or judging.  A person could be ill in body or mind, making the trip too much.  Someone could be overwhelmed by work or concentrating on a task or distracted by any number of things.

This too is how gifts may be left on the table.  It is not necessarily because there is a future purpose - like the crabapples on a tree.  It is because we are not ready - or not able - to receive a gift just now.  Or maybe we just can't manage that particular gift at this specific moment in time. 

Then we have the gifts that are left on the table because we aren't so sure they were something we wanted in the first place.  Gifts like... the year 2020.

It has become a running joke or a common theme that people just can't wait until 2020 is over and done with.  Well, sure.  There were (and are) some significant events that have been (and continue to be) very difficult this year.  2020 is like the gift that was left on the table and got shoved behind the napkin holder and that jar that holds all of the lids, bolts, caps and other oddball items that we are sure we'll figure out what they belong to some day (but we likely never will).

Let me remind me (and you) that each year we live is a gift that needs to be opened and enjoyed for what it is - and that includes 2020.

Let me also remind you (and me) that it was just last year at this time that numerous people said things like "thank goodness 2019 is over... I am sure 2020 will be better."  And they said it about 2018 and 2017 and.... just pick a year.

No, I am not making light of anyone's troubles.  And yes, I understand that sometimes we just want to get past difficult and horrible things.  In fact, I am fully aware that sometimes, things are really, really so terrible that it is all one can do to just endure.  But, one of the best ways to endure is to find the things that make living worthwhile and hold onto them.

If we leave the gift of our present lives on the table, unopened - we fail to give ourselves the chance to see those good things.

It's not too late.  Open the gift.  Dig through the packing peanuts and balled up paper and you'll find a gift card that you can spend.  How you spend it is up to you.


  1. Your blog is a recurring present. I am glad I have not left it on the table.

    1. I am glad you see it as a gift! Merry Christmas.


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