Monday, November 4, 2013

The Gift Or The Bow

The Gift or The Bow
A Short Story by Andrea Daggett

     He approached the door and raised his hand to knock.
     Knock, Knock.
     The sound was followed only by a silence which stretched on just a little bit longer than one would expect so he knocked again.
     Knock, Knock.
     This time there was the sound of movement behind the door and footsteps which got louder and louder as someone approached the door.  The door opened to reveal a young woman who looked a little uncertainly at the man standing in her doorway.
     "May I help you?" she asked in a quiet voice which sounded a little nervous.
     "I have a gift for you," he said in a voice which sounded as smooth as velvet.
     Her eyes began to soften as she looked at him and began to gaze at the gift that he held in his hands.  The gift was wrapped in plain, ordinary paper.  It was not pretty in color, but was instead just a drab brown color.  Her name was stamped randomly around the sides and the top of the brown paper wrapping.  There was a ribbon which wrapped itself around the box, but it was the bow on the top which seemed to catch her attention.
     He watched her as she looked the box up and down, and it was no surprise to him that her eye came to rest on that bow.  The bow was big and shiny.  The colors of the bow were every color of the rainbow, and the colors changed depending on the direction you looked at it in the light.
     "The bow is beautiful," she said to him as she took a step closer to the box.
     "Yes, the bow is beautiful, but what I have for you inside the box is the most beautiful gift you will ever receive," he said with a quiet calmness.
     She momentarily took her eyes off of the bow to look again at the present.  The smile of elation which had been on her face when she looked at the bow faded when she looked back down at the plain wrapping of the gift.  She slowly began to shake her head.
     "No, I think I will just take the bow.  You can keep the gift.  I just want the bow," she said politely as she reached her hand forward to take what she wanted.
     He pulled the gift back quickly to his chest to give her one more chance.
     "Again, I want to tell you that I would love to give you this gift.  It is a good gift, and it was made perfectly for you," he said.  This time his voice took on a little bit of a more pleading quality.
     She cast her gaze from his face and back down to the gift before finally settling again on the bow.  The corners of her mouth turned up when she laid her eyes upon it.  He knew her mind was made up.  She grabbed the bow and softly whispered a thank you as she gently closed her door.  He looked down at the plainly wrapped gift that he held in his hand and sighed.
     He made his way back to the warehouse and turned on the lights.  The fluorescent lights shone down on a warehouse full of what seemed like miles and miles of shelving systems lined in row after row.  He made his way through the maze of floor to ceiling shelving until he found the perfect empty spot and sat the bowless gift down on the shelf.
     At the end of each shelving system were the words, "Good & Perfect Gifts".  Shelf after shelf were lined with plainly wrapped boxes all missing their bows.  Some bows had been taken off gently as to not destroy the wrapping while others had been torn at the top where the bow had been taken off  by force.  Below each box was the name of the person and the city of the intended recipient of that gift.
     He looked around the room surveying every box. Inside each box was a perfect gift made specifically for each person.  He didn't need to open the boxes to know what was in each box.
     The bow on top of Tom's gift from Indiana was to continue in his alcohol use while inside the box there had been sobriety waiting for him.  Claire's bow from New York was to keep spending her evenings watching TV rather than spending her time with God.  Patrick's bow from San Francisco was to maintain his relationship with his new, young secretary when the gift was the holiness and the intimacy which comes only within the confines of marriage with his wife. Sara's bow was to keep spiraling further in debt by buying items she could not afford when her gift was the gift of contentment with what she already had.  Paul's bow was to keep his obsession with video games while his gift was to have better communication and a richer relationship with his children.  Laura's bow was to continue in a high paying job while inside her box was the gift of ministry.
     On and on and from box to box, the story was the same.  Each person would choose what pleased them in the moment paying little attention or seeing what was best for him or for her.  He wanted to give them the most perfect gift.  A gift that would change their life, but they chose time after time to choose unwisely.
     He walked farther and farther into the back of the warehouse.  There the shelving systems were also labeled with the words, "Good & Perfect Gifts", but on these shelves were plainly wrapped gifts with beautiful bows attached.
     He reached to take a box into his arms with a red, shiny bow and with the new box was the renewed hope that maybe this time his recipient would accept the gift and not just the bow.  It did happen sometimes, and it was a pure joy to him when it did.  As he turned off the lights, locked the door, and left the building, he stepped out into the lamp light of the street with a smile tracing his lips.  He had a good feeling about this one.

"Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." James 1:17, NKJV

"When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed." James 1:14, NIV

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV

"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" Matthew 7:11, NIV

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to Him and dine with him, and him with me." Revelations 3:20, NKJV

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