My son entered my bedroom on a particularly special morning and presented me with a lovely, funny birthday card bought personally for me by him. After we shared a laugh at its witty message, he declared, “Be right back”, as he spun around on his heels and disappeared towards his room. He came back with his hands behind his back. ”I bought you a present”, he said. Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he followed up with, “It’s in the driveway!”
It seemed he was pulling a fast one on me, and didn’t really have a present but was referring to the Jeep that has been our rental while our car was being repaired from the bump it received the week before when I was rear-ended. Then, after he stopped laughing, he slowly showed his hands and revealed to me what he was holding and said, “I bought it for you at the town-wide garage sale.” That was two months earlier.
The first thought that flashed through me was how moved I was by his thoughtfulness. This was followed closely by my realization that he wasn’t referring to the Jeep - a vehicle he knows I've loved since I was a teenager - and then, my bedazzled excitement as my eyes fell upon a model boat – made of wicker.
“I know you want a boat”, he said thoughtfully. He knows I want a boat. Someday. He knows me. I have always wanted a boat, for as long as I can remember, and certainly for as long as he can remember. A real one was not within my reach at the moment, yet here he was presenting me with one that was within his reach, and now, mine too. It was thoughtful, adorable, and perfect. I’m referring to the gesture. But then as I looked closely at this little boat made of wicker, I suddenly wished I had taken a basket weaving class at some point.
How do they do it, really? If we were handed a bunch of reeds, could we weave them into something that resembled, well – anything?? Which is why I marveled at this little boat, with flowing lines juxtaposed to rounded corners and punctuated with a captain’s helm. It is perfect, and has instantly taken up residence among some of my favorite things – all my cherished family heirlooms, my glass tea pot, and my big-ass copper-clad stainless steel sauté pan, to name only a few.
Lesson: Stop and grasp the wonder.
We’ve all made the joke, right? The one about the mandatory course believed to be insignificant, unnecessary, or just plain folly - comparing it to the likes of a class that would have us weaving grass for college credit. We humor ourselves after having gone the distance, though begrudgingly maybe, and wave our hard-earned, well-rounded transcript in hand on our way to our future. Equipped with this ticket into gateways and entrances to all things wise and grown up, we travel decades through life attending to countless more significant subjects of all matter. Until one day a woven gift of reeds finds its way into our possession. Then, if we are poised to stop and smell the wicker, we might stumble surprisingly onto some wonder, as I did on that morning of my birthday.
This was someone’s unwanted something that has been transformed into a prized possession of great worth. One person’s junk indeed became another’s treasure – mine. Here I was holding a treasure of a ship, made extra warm by loving, thoughtful hands that delivered it into mine, long after it was woven by someone with the skill to take precious natural materials and create a handiwork of uncommon effort. Don’t let the simplicity fool you. Be humbled, rather, by down-to-earth, unpretentious measures and pleasures that beckon us all to stop and grasp the wonder-full journey of a skill, a gesture, and a treasure.