Friday, December 14, 2012

Keeps on giving...

What's the best gift you've ever been given?

Let us, for a moment, put aside spiritual gifts. What gift, from a human being, has brought you joy that just doesn't stop?

When asked this question, I found myself going over and over the myriad gifts I've been given in my life...

The Cabbage Patch kid, Gussy Odella, that my mom stood on line for hours to get, the one with green eyes like me...

The beautiful, poofy dress with bells in the skirt that jingled when I walked....

The stuffed dog my husband gave me the night he first said "I love you"...

But eventually, all those gifts lost there appeal. The things that I really remember about those gifts are not really the gifts themselves. I remember my Mother's love, my Mimi's smile, and my husband's sincere gaze. Those memories turned out to be the true gift.

So my thoughts turned elsewhere. And suddenly, it came to me.


In third grade, I sat in the front of the room. Even from there, I had to squint to see the board. Ashamedly, I took home my teacher's note..."Kimberly needs glasses."

With dread I was taken to the optometrist, intimidated by the rows and rows of shiny lens staring down at me from the shelves.

The exam was done.

My fears were confirmed.

I needed glasses.

I wasn't prepared for the feeling of trying on my shiny, gold and red rimmed glasses. I could see! I guess I had never really been able to before. My world got bigger, sharper, and brighter in a moment.

It is a gift that is with me every waking moment...a gift of beauty, a gift of emotion. With it I can see my children's faces, my husband's approval, the glory of nature. I can read and write. I can walk and drive. I can see need.

It's a great gift, this sight. And like with most great things, great responsibility comes with it. I can see more than the good things in life.

I can see sorrow, hurt feelings, hunger, nakedness. I can see sin and pain.

Yet, somehow, I can still choose to be blind to those things when I want to be. It has taken the work of the Holy Spirit to open my eyes, physically and spiritually, to the needs of others.

What might the gift of glasses mean to a kid who needs them?

Or the gift of dental care, to be able to eat for the first time without pain?

Maybe vaccines? To live free from fear of dying from a preventable disease.

And education, teaching a new mom how to treat diarrhea or training a farmer to better provide for his family? Or giving someone the power of reading God's Word for themselves and taking its message to heart?

These gifts keep on giving. They won't end up under the bed, buried in a closet, or broken the next day. They will keep on giving. They will multiply. They will last.

Compassion International empowers us to do something about the suffering we see. For me, it has also enabled me to see firsthand the impact my gifts have made and are continuing to make.

This is a photo of my sponsored daughter Jhoselin, from Bolivia, with her gift of letters. To her they are more than paper; they are the gift of worth and value. And Jhoselin, being confident that she is loved and cared for, will pass that gift along to others who need it.

Check out the link on the side of my page to sponsor a child like Jhoselin.

Follow this link to explore the Gifts of Compassion catalog, which offers a wide variety of ways you can give gifts that multiply.

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