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This morning at breakfast I was given a gift that I did not appreciate, and it caught me off guard. In the first place, I didn’t see the gift-giving situation forming; I wasn’t expecting any sort of surprise or special occasion. To make matters worse, I was not prepared for the gift itself, not the way a hobo might readily accept a dollar, or a teacher might receive an apple. It simply was not the kind of gift that I would deem appropriate for myself. It would have never turned up on my Christmas list, I would never have hinted at it to a lover, and I would have walked right by it in a store. This gift was a jillion degrees between me and Kevin Bacon, at least it was to me in my mind.
It was a how-to-write book.
In the gift-giver’s opinion, however, I’m sure this seemed like a very appropriate gift, or probably even a necessity, like when the very first bystander at the Crucifixion noticed that Jesus’ loincloth was slipping, and pinned it back into place: it was a gift to Jesus, to everyone else standing around, and to millions upon millions of people who came after who would always gaze upon the image of Jesus dying on the cross in his loincloth, rather than out of it. To the person who gave me my gift today, maybe it seemed that important, both for me and posterity.
But just like Jesus probably wasn’t hanging there thinking, uh-oh, my loincloth is slipping, I was not hanging around thinking, gee, I hope somebody gives me a book of writing instructions, so when I got it, and it was in my hands, and then on the table before me where I just looked at it, I didn’t know what to do. I know I said “thank you”, but after that I ignored it, like Frank Lloyd Wright getting an Erector Set, or Phil Collins getting a drum pad. I simply thought that I was beyond it.
While the whole episode seemed mild and upbeat, friendly enough in all ways, it slowly took the wind from my sails. Disappointment from knowing that this person considered me a promising beginner quickly gave way to knowing he was right. Tears came on the drive home, for thinking I was ready when maybe I’m not, and for how easily my confidence is shaken.
Easter prayer: God, it’s me, Kate Mohler. I’m still waiting for the grace. The way I say it in my prayers, you probably think I’ve been asking for grapes; I am often tired at night, and we both know about my speech impediment. For the grapes, I thank you. Maybe grace isn’t in season yet, not in my part of the world. I’ll keep an eye out though.
P.S. Please don’t let me get in trouble with the Pope like John Lennon did.