Saint Paul's second letter to the Corinthians tells us "The Lord loves a cheerful giver." What a great message, a powerful reminder, and poignant sentiment. Indeed, there is a certain joy and inspiration when one gives cheerfully. And yet, if I might make one suggestion—a tiny edit, can we add the the Lord loves a thoughtful giver, too?!
Recently, I've been thinking a lot about gifts. They come in all shapes and sizes, categories and more. Who doesn't love a surprise gift, a funny gift, a personal gift or a unique one? Gifts make life a little sweeter. Truly, they can brighten your day.
For some people, "receiving gifts" is their primary love language. According to What the Receiving Gifts Love Language Means for a Relationship, "Gift Giving, which means we “speak” our love through presents ranges from small tokens to surprise deliveries." If this is your beloved's lexicon, I recommend placing both cheer and thought behind that which has been given.
But gifts can also feel forced. Too many are pro forma or obligatory. Shouldn't a gift be given freely and without expectation? Isn't that what a gift truly is?
Do I want to live in a world without gifts? No, I don't. But I also don't want to be told what to give or how to give it. Who needs that stress? Therefore, I have recommitted to the words of Saint Paul. I am working on giving cheerfully and offering something thoughtful, too.
On my birthday, I received so many wonderful gifts. My family and so many friends went above and beyond the call of duty. I am grateful for each and every gift, but I have to admit, my favorite gifts were the thoughtful ones.
One might argue that all gifts are thoughtful. I will not disagree. And yet, there are certain gifts that reveal insight—a special understanding or of a shared connection between the giver and the recipient. For example, I received stationery that reads "Who is your caddy?" from one of my dear golf girlfriends. She knows I am committed to the written word. She also knows I love playing golf with a caddy. It has to be the team sports mentality in me, but 18 holes with a caddy, gives me a teammate and coach all in one. I have also went on several dates with a caddy on the PGA tour. I can't say his job wasn't fascinating to me. Her gift was a perfect one.
Another friend gave me what might be the cutest beanie on the tour. Even though neither or us are actually on the tour, we play a lot of golf and see a lot of good golf gear. I've learned from her that if you like something someone is wearing, just ask them what brand it is. She must have paid attention when I asked her about this hat earlier in the year.One of the highlights from Summer 2021 was volunteering at the US Women's Open. It was a treat to be a part of a championship tourney hosted at the Olympic Club, my home course. Not only was it inspiring to be around the world's best female golfers, it was a joy to work and watch with so many dear friends. One of them gave me paraphernalia—the good stuff from the Open. Using those beer classes reminds me of this shared summer highlight. Thank you, Karen! And thank you to another friend who put some cash in a card and said "enjoy, a beer on me." Love it.
My favorite prayer is the Prayer of Saint Francis. And one of the most meaningful lines, is one I quote often: it is in the giving that we receive. Give cheer and we will receive it. Is that true for thoughtfulness? I think so.
Giving a gift—cheerfully, thoughtfully, and freely is a love language. And the message it conveys is: I see you, I appreciate you, I *get* you, and I care about you. What a gift.