Out of the box
Today I was privy to a discussion on a Facebook thread that bemoaned the agony of waiting to find out what was inside some wrapped Christmas gifts. The tags made the boxes even more curious to the receiver, and some not-so-patient Facebook friends were good-naturedly egging her on with reasons why it would be ok for her to go ahead and unwrap them. It was all in fun, but it reminded me how differently people approach gifts.
I have to admire the wrapper-rippers. They hate the wait, passionately going for the gusto, ripping and tearing away everything that keeps them from the thing that is already theirs but must first be revealed in order to be defined. Christmas morning and birthdays become a flurry of ribbons and bows and bits of paper flying, and the enthusiastic joy of the dive into the gift pile is a sight to behold. You gotta love the wrapper-ripper in all his or her wrapper-ripping glory.
I am not a wrapper-ripper. I drive wrapper-rippers nuts.
“Just OPEN it!” they cry when a gift is placed into my hands. ”Just TEAR it!”
But I can’t. I just can’t.
There is something truly delicious about an unopened gift that is mine-all-mine. How big is it? How heavy is it? Does it rattle? Is it hard or squishy? Do I even have a guess at what is in this box or bag? Was it assembled/wrapped by someone who hurried because they couldn’t wait to give it, or someone who wanted its presentation to be perfect and took their time to trim and crease and tape carefully? Does it have a smell? Hmm…
I love the moments of not knowing, those brief moments of anticipation where anything could happen. Potential is heavy in the air. What is it? Maybe Schrödinger’s cat is in there, for all I know.
I am aware, as I savor and squeeze and rattle and sniff and evaluate, that the wrapper-rippers around me are having grand mal seizures over my slow-as-molasses approach to the gift. It is taking every ounce of self-restraint they have to refrain from coming over to “help” me get that gift open.
To them, I am prolonging the agony.
To me, I am prolonging the enjoyment.
As long as I have an unopened gift I know something exciting is about to happen. That gift isn’t going to stay unopened. But I love that receiving a gift also means receiving the potential of all that gift could be, both before and after it’s actually in my hands and revealed for what it is.
I’m like this about the gifts God gives me, too. His gifts are rarely given in fullness, but they come with more potential than I can even fathom. They stretch and unfold, and are always, always bigger than whatever contained them when they were first unwrapped. And the wrapping…oh, the wrapping! Sometimes I can tell they were wrapped hurriedly by Someone excited for me to receive and totally unconcerned about any perceived messiness, and sometimes they are wrapped meticulously, with thought and details that show me that the wrapping is part of the gift. I love both equally. They speak to different parts of my heart, parts that need to hear from Him.
I’m excited for my friend to open her gifts, because I am actually the one who sent them. But I’m also excited for the days before they are opened, when they are simply boxes of potential to spark her curiosity and imagination.
And I promise you I did not put a dead-and-alive cat in there.