Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Unopened Gift

After years of begging him to paint something just so his God-given talent would not be put to waste, my friend surprised me with a gift the week before he left the country for good. I looked at it and thought I heard him say that it was a photo taken of an actual painting, the only painting he made for six years.

I was honored to receive that gift and put it on a special place inside my room, to remind me of the gift of friendship, art, and life. When I asked him what his work was called, he said he had not really thought about it. He paused for a while and then decided to call it "A New Life".

I saw what he meant by the title. The painting was made up of several shapes and sizes, in different textures and colors that seemed to convey different aspects of life, or different periods in one's lifetime. I prayed with that painting for several days, reflecting on the new life that God alone could give, and all the wonderful surprises hidden inside each piece of the painting led me to hope for more blessings in my own life.

Less than a year after receiving that gift, a couple of our common friends asked to see that "photo-of-a-painting", after hearing about it so much from me. They asked if they could open the back of the frame to inspect it, as they were quite sure that it was not just a photo, while I insisted that it was. Lo and behold, the girls discovered something I had taken for granted for several months - it was a real painting, and not just a photograph of one. Where I got the idea that it was not real, I will never know.

I was stunned to learn what a treasure I had in my hands, an artist's original especially made for me. True, I appreciated it, but I was not aware of its real worth and value, and missed out on that extra joy for quite some time.

I am quite often like that with God's gifts as well. Consumed by my own ideas of how He blesses me, I fail to recognize the true worth of His gifts, and become content only in mere shadows and scraps of the genuine article. More precious than diamonds, more costly than gold, is the Lord to me, and yet sometimes my idea of Him gets dulled, and I miss out on His presence in my life.

I do not think I am alone in this, for a lot of people are like me, rushing through life without pausing to ponder on God, His ways, His works, and His wonders. I hope that after this lesson, I will experience life in a new way - to recognize love and its gifts, God and His blessings - the minute I receive them, and to be grateful, and to respond accordingly.

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