Many Gifts
Off the Wall, December 14, 2017

I was talking to a priest recently who reminded me that gifts come in various packages. I can imagine everyone reading this column will not dispute that statement. A matter of fact, that subject is well on people’s minds, as many are getting ready for the festive season of Christmas.

Santa, the Mrs., not to mention the dwarfs, are getting everyone’s wishes ready for the Eve’s delivery. But most everyone is aware of this tradition. What I’m going to talk about today are gifts that come in packages, as the priest noted, but not necessary in the packages that are bowed and papered.

It so happened that I was reading a story not too long ago about a man from a fairly large city who was given the gift of thoughtfulness. He decided to visit the local fast food chain and buy as much food as he could afford to purchase and take to the homeless in the downtown area of the metropolis. His daughter decided to tag along to watch from inside the car.

When they arrived at place where the persons were gathered, he parked the car and got out and proceeded to go to the nearest individual. The middle-aged suburbanite began talking with the fellow clad in disheveled clothing for a short time. Before one knew it, the two were laughing and having a good time. The food was then given to the unshaven man who was much appreciative of such generosity.

When the daughter saw the good that her father did, and how well he got along with everyone with whom he came in contact, she joined him on his mission. His gift of blessings not only reflected on the homeless, but the daughter, too.

In talking to this priest, I was sharing the fact that I cannot drive and many times people will pass me while driving down Ligonier Street, honk and wave, but never pick me up. Granted, some days I’m out for a walk, particularly when it is warmer, but now when it colder it’s a whole different story.

My feeling seemed to dwell on the fact that these motorists really don’t appreciate the hardships we pedestrians encounter, particularly when w have to battle the elements. Here is what he told me after he made his opening statement. “The reason certain people aren’t picking you up is because they are void of that gift.”

I never thought of a gift in those contents before. As hard as it was for me to hear, I accepted what he said.

Those two examples should get one’s mind spinning in all directions as the many gifts we have that are not contained within pretty, wrapped packages meant to please.

While in church recently, I was blessed with the thought that I once came into this world as a gift to my parents. Regardless of what happened during birth, I have grown to hopefully benefit society. My many blessings have come as talents in form of my long professional career of photography, journalism and authoring books, craft construction and other attributes.

As the result of the bumps and blunders of my past, I’ve been gifted as a good listener, sensitive to other’s feeling, and able to show respect to all with whom I come in contact. And I am very thankful for the gift of the ability to love everyone. A matter of fact, I was reading a book last month and a statement was made that “Everyone should love his enemy.” That, my friends, is a heavy statement. Many can’t do it, only the gifted.

Beethoven, Mozart, and Shubert were three classical masters whom were given the gift to write symphonies of ages past, many of their compositions still popular today with the circles of those who enjoy these notes of pleasure.

Any number of athletes has been given the gift of using their muscular bodies to perform various feats. Not all of us are given the talents to entertain others with such abilities.

Mary Smilipps of Canthelpitt, Georgia, always had a sense of peace about her. When one addressed her, that gracious gift she was given flowed forth while in conversation or just being in her presence. Many times people often wished they could have a little bit of the gift she had.

So the question remains. Is your goal to only seek out gifts under the tree or bless others with those that were freely given to you? Who would benefit more?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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