Have you ever read Gary Chapman's best selling book, The Five Love Languages? It is designed to help married couples understand what makes their spouse experience deep feelings of love. I personally think understanding what makes another person tick and feel special and cared about extends even beyond the marriage relationship, and can apply to personal relationships in general. What happens is people who love to do acts of service, for example, most often feel loved when others do acts of service for them. Gary Chapman doesn't list "surprises" as one of the love languages (he uses the term "gifts") but I love to surprise people by giving them something nice they were not expecting. Yet I am usually a difficult person to surprise, and so when I AM surprised with a gift from someone, I truly do feel the love !
I have not had a birthday, anniversary, or any other special occasion come up for me lately, yet I have been surprised numerous times this past week by a variety of gifts from people! What in the world is going on?? Have a look!
One day early in the week I was making a pasta casserole and realized I had enough stuff to make a second one. I decided to take it to my friend Nancy, who is having some health issues and is awaiting surgery. When I arrived at her house, not only did her daughter Kristi have bag of fresh lettuce from her garden to give me, but Nancy handed me a beautiful Pfaltzgraf collector's pitcher that she had found used for a very low price! Nancy knew of my love of the pineapple symbol (hospitality) but she didn't know I have a small collection of pitchers as well. Pitchers are a visual for me of a vessel with contents intended to be poured out for the benefit of others.
Another day I answered my doorbell to find a young friend, Heather, standing there and holding a beautiful vase of fresh cut flowers and a lovely thankyou note. I had kept her daughter overnight a few days prior while she was having some early morning surgery. I love fresh flowers and I honestly can't remember the last time I've had any in the house! What a pleasant surprise!
An old friend, Lyn, who I haven't seen or talked to in quite a while, had been trying to reach me for a couple of days. We never did connect on the phone, yet one day as I pulled into the driveway I noticed a gift bag on my front porch. I was stunned to open it and find a beautiful bone china tea cup to add to my fairly new collection, which she had read about on Facebook. What made it all the more special was when I called to thank her, she told me it had been brought from England years ago as a gift to her mother, and had been put away since her mother died back in the '80's. What a treasure!
My sister Marcella and brother-in-law Rodney are staying with us this weekend. Our neighborhood was having garage sales, and Rodney went out for a few minutes to take a gander. He came back with two items for me, and I love both of them!
I think I can find a place in the kitchen to display this cute bag of "sugar"...
and I know I will use this set of placemats!
While at our family reunion yesterday, my cell phone alerted me of a text from yet another friend, Brenda, who lives in the neighborhood. Our husbands used to work together years ago, and Brenda and I became great thrift shopping/lunching buddies for a while. Years, grandchildren, and jobs have made our times together fewer and farther between. The message said that since she didn't see me going around the garage sales, she had left something for me under the bench in the front of our house! Oh my, what a thoughtful surprise awaited me!
Each item was wrapped in tissue with a note attached, telling me the order in which I should open it, along with an explanatory note. There is a jar of pickled asparagus (with a personal story), a bottle of olive oil from her travels to Florence, Italy this year, and another bottle of flavored olive oil from a new store in our area. Each item was especially chosen with ME in mind and not just randomly selected!
I honestly do not know what to make of all this kindness, and all coming within the same week! I will say that I have had a particularly intense and emotionally nerve wracking week with other things going on in my life...one of those weeks when you wish you could just get in your car and head for a quiet vacation...But these people were not aware of all those details. The only possible explanation is my Heavenly Father, who knows me inside out (and loves me anyway) had orchestrated a way to comfort and cheer me by using people in my life to speak HIS love language...the language of thoughtfulness, blessing, giving...Not one of these people asked for anything in exchange for their gifts freely given. But in their giving, they all communicated a desire to have an ongoing relationship with me. I don't take that for granted, and I am letting this all sink in. As much as I love every one of these gifts, I know it's really not as much about the gift as it is about the giver of the gifts. And from the bottom of a very grateful heart I say a huge "THANK YOU" to them for allowing God to work in and through them this week to bless a soul who was in need of a special touch.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17