The perfect September day. Blue sky and warming sunshine, but the wind has a chill to it that heralds the autumn cold. In Somerset the autumn colours are not yet in the trees, and yet they have started to look ’tired’, with a hint of sadness that the summer is gone and that the ‘party is over’. And yet the hedgerows are filled with gifts, brightly coloured and often sweet.
It got me thinking about gifts.
True gifts are costly ones… I am not talking about ‘amount’ here, but instead the cost. An obvious example would be two people making a gift to a charity. Lets say they both gave the the same amount, the first was a useful tax write-off, and the second equated to a year’s salary pre tax… it’s an obvious example of course but to me there is a definite difference in cost.
Then there are other costs… To give something you have been able to create for others to enjoy. A meal, a painting, a poem, a song. I’m sure we all know that song that makes us cry; what did it cost the writer to record it?
Then there are the personal gifts of confidences, intimacies, and even shared fears. These can be very costly gifts and should be treasured.
Not that I read them, but one often hears of people’s personal lives being laid bare in the newspapers of the day. Broken confidences that are now ‘public property’. All at great cost.
As I look at the fruit laden hedgerows and marvel at the beauty and extravagance of all these gifts, I wonder of the cost to the one who created these things?
I think there is… the Eucharist. A sacrament of an innocent life laid bare before all and made ‘public property’…
So for me, the things that I really treasure in this life are the gifts that cost, and are freely given. Especially the gift of a blessed life, remembered in a simple meal of bread and wine.