Have you ever been given a gift and responded with something like...oh you shouldn't have...or maybe...you didn't have to do that! It's kind of a go to response for many people. We don't always know how to accept a gift. Sometimes we probably don't think we are worthy of it. Other times we don't even recognize it as a gift.
It's a shame when that happens. It means that someone loves us and took time to make that extra special effort on our behalf, so how can we turn that down so easily?
27 years ago I was given a gift. I didn't know it at the time. My Mother came home and announced she was getting married again. I still lived at home but I was nearly an adult and had my own life, so I really didn't know much about this man she was going to marry. I had met him in passing, and I was delighted she was getting married again. In fact I had been trying to marry her off for years.
Over the years as I got to know him, I came to realize that he was the sort of person we all aspire to be. He is kind, compassionate, faithful and would help anyone out who needs it. He is just an all around good person. I will never be as good of person as he is, but I sincerely wish I could be. I have used him as an example to apply to my own actions on many occasions.
Like my Mother, this was his second marriage. The first time he was married he adopted three children all when they were babies, so he was the only Father they ever knew. He looked upon them as gifts. After he got his divorce they didn't have much to do with him sadly.
This week we received the news that the youngest, my step-brother passed away rather unexpectedly. While it's had a huge impact, you don't need to offer me any condolences because despite being a member of our immediate family, I only met him once, and it was a couple decades ago. So I don't feel a great personal sense of loss. But yet his passing has had a deep effect on me all the same.
I feel an unspeakable sadness and sense of loss for what my Step Father must be going through right now. He doesn't deserve this pain. But oddly the greatest sadness I feel is for my step brother. He was given such an incredible gift in having this very fine man as a Father and he didn't recognize it for what it was, nor did he accept it. Now that he is gone, he will never know what was truly offered to him.
I can imagine the devastation my Step Father is feeling right now. I am sure deep in his heart he always hoped a time would come when his son would reach out to him in the way he reached out from the very beginning. That opportunity has passed now, and it makes me sad beyond what words can express.
So I have shed many tears for the loss of a man I didn't know, and the pain of one I know well. I thank God that I do recognize him for the gift he is, and I have tried to show it to the best of my ability so that he knows he is loved. He has made up for so many things that my own Father was not. I don't blame my Father for his frailties, but he was a damaged person and not the Father I wished he could have been. I have been very fortunate to have my step Father take that place in my life and my heart several years after my own Father had passed on. That was undeniably a gift that I didn't expect.
When someone offers you a gift, great or small....whether it's a friend...family member or a higher power. Accept it with grace. You do deserve it because you are loved. The one who offers the gift needs to know that you appreciate it too...that's important to them so that they know they are loved in return.