Monday, November 19, 2007

Too Good For The Likes of Me

Do you have any friends who are too good for you? Unfortunately, I think all my friends are. I have been dubiously blessed with the most thoughtful, inspiring, gifted, talented, delightful, and generous group of friends ever to have been assembled on this earthly plane. Oh, and they all seem to be endowed with that decorating and craft-making gene I sorely lack. And they do it all with such subtlty and quietness and finesse, that my sad attempts to return their abundance always feel so lumbering and clumsy. I feel like such a schmoo.

Take my friend, Kadie, for instance. I just finished writing a thank-you card to her for a lovely and thoughtful gift that she gave me for my birthday. Behold! This gift was exquisitely wrapped and carefully selected so as to maximize fully my pleasure in receiving it. And she wrote a card, too, that was as expressive in art as it was generous in nature.

Or, take Sabina. Here's another one who makes the very wrapping of a present into a work of artistic merit. She flipping made me a necklace for my birthday. She made me a necklace! It is gorgeous. How in the world do you equal that? How can you, if you are such a boob that even an Oriental Trading Company craft kit exasperates your meager abilities, ever hope to give something as meaningful and unique? You cannot. You simply fall back and gnash your teeth and murmur against the God who put such wonderful people in your life; and then accept it with gratitude.

Of course, nothing is coincidental. God put these lovely women into my life for many reasons, surely. But one of those must have been to hammer home into this stubborn skull of mine the meaning of grace. Now, every day, I have constant reminders about me of gifts that I do not deserve and can never hope to repay. And what greater gift do I have, ultimately, than the one given to me on the Cross by my Redeemer? Who is the original Creator of beautiful gifts I can never attempt to equal; Who gives with a heart free of "keeping score" and seeking reciprocation? And what else can I do but accept it with gratitude and tears of joy?

Thank you to my gifted and giving cadre of friends who are living, breathing examples of the grace of God in my life. You have blessed me beyond belief, and He has blessed me with belief, and my heart overflows with the wonder of it all.


Mark said...

Sometimes, just being there for other people can repay a lifetime of gifts. At the right time, you're there to share, and give of yourself, and it's worth as much, if not more, than the sum of what the other person has given you.

Remember, "You're blessed to bless and the best of possessions is having something to give."

Justine said...

Oh yeah, I totally get that, too; it's just that sometimes I wish I were a little more gifted in the gifting department. More able to take a simple occasion and make it so special by that extra little something of style and substance. I guess I'm envious of my friends' flair and panache and innate sense of going the extra mile. I'm always five days late and half a dollar short.

But, of course, being there is the key. And here I am; here I am.

Hopefully my friends "feel free to laugh or cry; feel free to wonder why; feel free to dance or grieve;" and know "that [they] are safe when [they're] with me."

Oh yes, I will use the Carolyn quotes, too. :-)

Anonymous said...

Justine, I know what you mean by friends who teach us about grace.
With my recent heart attack, operation and recovery, I found out just how gold my friends are. There's nothing I can do that will ever repay the way they've given with no thought of receiving back.

Joelle said...

Justine, you are one of those friends in my life who teach ME about grace. You have always been there for me with such generosity and words of love that I am left feeling humbled by my own shortcomings when it comes to being a friend! So don't judge yourself by other people's talents. I think you are absolutely wonderful (and a true reflection of God's love) just the way you are. :)

Anonymous said...

You have good friends because you are a precious person. Hugs.