Oct. 19, 2019

Unexpected Gifts


“The best things in life are unexpected because there were no expectations.”

Eli Khamarov

“A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer.”

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

“The key to a woman’s heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.”

Sean Connery

I received a small box in the mail earlier this week. This was an occasion for celebration as, probably just like you, what I mostly get in the mail is bills, catalogs – how is it possible for me to receive catalogs from all over the world from companies I’ve never heard of where I’ve never bought anything – political materials, guilt-inducing letters from every charity known to man, frequently including a dime or a nickel that I must pry out, rather than just tossing it, which then exposes me to pathetic pleadings to save it, whatever it is. No, I’m not a heartless, selfish person who doesn’t do anything to help the world be a better place. I’m just selective about where I send my checks. John, my best friend and husband of fifty years – who has been dancing with the angels for two years now as of October 9th – was an ardent supporter of clean water for people all over the world. He supported World Vision’s clean water program and I have continued to walk in his footsteps to provide clean water. It mattered to him and it matters to me.

But I digress! I was talking about the small box I received. It was a totally unexpected gift from my friend, Darren Pollock, who is the father of two of the most adorable children, an Adjunct Professor at Fuller Seminary, a Pastor at Panorama Presbyterian Church, a theologian, and a great singer. What was the totally unexpected gift? The picture shows it all, well, almost all. Inside were six Cadbury caramel filled chocolate eggs. These things are a particular addiction of mine and I was whining about how I couldn’t seem to find any of them at Easter time. Hence, Darren’s generous gift. I am rationing them and not sharing with anyone, I don’t care how closely related we are.

The best unexpected gifts, for me, would be a letter or a card which arrives at the exact moment one needs a word of encouragement. Texts are in that group also, especially texts with pictures attached. Also for me, every day God sends me an unexpected gift in a sunrise and a sunset which are beyond beautiful. They are different every day and I send them to friends and family as an unexpected gift and occasionally put a bunch of them up on Facebook. I’m not the world’s greatest photographer, but it’s hard to mess up a picture of a sunset that takes your breath away.

Christmas is coming when gifts are pretty much expected, but I thought I’d tell you about a couple of the most expensive and possibly unexpected gifts ever given:

1. Mike Tyson gave then-wife Robin Givens a 24-carat gold bathtub costing, at that time, a mere $2.3 million. (Seriously? A gold bathtub? What do you clean it with?)

2. As a Christmas present in 1968, Richard Burton made good on a promise he made to his then-wife, Liz Taylor, of a perfect ruby ring, an 8.24 karat Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and ruby ring, a bauble costing a mere $4.2 million. (Too much responsibility! I’d lose it, I’m afraid.)

Personally, those unexpected gifts aren’t anything I’d ever want. A box of Cadbury caramel chocolate eggs, on the other hand, are a fabulous gift. God has given me so many gifts that I am grateful for: pretty good health, an amazing loving family, a beautiful home, friends, and a 50 year marriage to a wonderful man.

Walking this morning it occurred to me that the greatest unexpected gift I ever received was the day John said to me, “I can’t marry someone who isn’t a believer.” This was in 1967, friends and neighbors. I promptly said, “Where do I go to sign up?” and he told me how to ask Jesus into my heart. I did and God has been working on me ever since. Let me quote this wonderful song by Chris Tomlin one more time...

Amazing Love

“I’m forgiven because you were forsaken
I’m accepted, You were condemned
I’m alive and well
Your spirit is within me
Because you died and rose again.

Amazing love, how can it be?
That you, my king. would die for me
Amazing love, I know its true
It’s my joy to honor you
In all I do
I honor you.”

Maybe an unexpected gift will come your way today!