Gifts

[updated 131110: tried to answer some of the questions a little]

I believe everything that happens is an expression of the will of God. I can’t imagine anything happens that God doesn’t “want” to happen. Everything that happens is what God “wants”. I put quotes around “want” because I don’t imagine God having human desires. It’s more like what is and what happens is just part of what God is… but that’s not the direction I want to take here.

When something nice happens to me, I thank God for bringing me this gift. Equally, when I do something, achieve something myself, I thank God. I take that as a gift from God too.

Although I say thank you when I pray, I say thank you at the time too.

This giving thanks is not a duty or a chore, to be ticked off. It really is a joy. It’s also not something separate, a commentary on life. The saying thank you is part of life, part of the enjoyment of what has happened, or what is happening.

Any old excuse to share some time with God, to feel Jesus near me. They are really among the nicest times.

Saying thank you for nice things is easy. But all the horrible things are part of God’s will too. Stubbing your toe, losing your job, the Sichuan earthquake, the Holocaust. They are gifts from God.

How can I say thank you for gifts like these? How can I accept them and think of them as gifts?

A pragmatic approach might work for the little things: stubbing your toe is God’s way of saying slow down. But the bigger the gift, the clearer is the crassness of the pragmatic approach.

Actually, some of the “nice” gifts can be too big for a simple thank you too: you find a true love; you welcome your child into the world. Jackpot prizes in the EuroMillions lottery can get up to hundreds of millions of pounds.

I think of a verse from Luke’s nativity. The shepherds have just heard the news from the angel, and they’ve come to Bethlehem to look for the saviour. Soon the town is full of amazement. Then Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

That gives me the impression of taking everything in carefully, without missing or damaging anything, without analysing or deciding; recognising, appreciating and meeting the gift that is being offered.

It might be worth having a quick look at the about page, or even the about page from my other blog (especially the bit where it says “panty fetishist”), before you read this next bit.

What happened?

We (the family: me, my wife A and our son B) were on holiday in the South of France, in a provincial city. It was a good holiday. We had a lovely relaxing time.

Occasionally during the holiday, I was out in the city alone. On one these jaunts early in the week I saw a couple of things I immediately wanted (“I” being “PL” here): secret sexy presents to myself. I was very excited.

The first was this book of cartoons, all about “girls who always want to go pee-pee”: “Livret éducatif pour les filles qui ont toujours envie de faire pipi!”

Here’s a link to a review of the book (French, written by a female):

http://leschroniquesdemadoka.over-blog.com/article-livret-educatif-pour-les-filles-qui-ont-toujours-envie-de-faire-pipi-120733492.html

And some sample pages:

IMG_4211 IMG_4213

The second was even more exciting. The town had a branch of Princesse Tam Tam, a youthful and cheerful (but not that cheap actually) lingerie brand. Walking past the shop, I saw a lovely flowery knickers & bra set hanging against the back wall. I found reasons to walk past the shop several times.

13403

(bra, panties)

I so wanted both, but I didn’t buy either.

I spent a few days steeped in regret: why didn’t I have the courage of my convictions? Why did I have to be “sensible”?

One evening towards the end of the holiday, we were walking back to our apartment. A & B decided we should all have takeaway pizzas. Without further ado I was dispatched to go and buy them, while A & B continued back to the flat.

The bookshop was en route to the restaurant! I bought the book and stashed it in my man-bag.

The restaurant wouldn’t be opening for another 15 minutes! I hurried to Princesse Tam Tam to buy the set.

This shop was an extra test: it was quite busy; both changing rooms had ladies in trying on various bras; the sales lady was juggling those two ladies, another customer and me. I imagine a man buying a bra and asking for a 38A (large chest, tiny bust) doesn’t have to explain much.

Guilt set in already while I was in this shop: thinking of the money, thinking of my wife, …

Questions

Now I’m home. I still haven’t had an opportunity to try on my new bra & panties, let alone spend some playtime in them. I’m full of questions.

[update: I’ve just tried them on quickly after hours in the office loo. They are really nice to wear!! Like all good lingerie, exciting and comfy at the same time.]

Obviously I should not have bought any of this stuff. *But*, “not” buying should have been a conscious, positive decision. Towards rather than away from something.

So, how should I have accepted the gift? The “gift” I’m thinking about was that pair of second opportunities.

Can we offer gifts to God? Could my not buying have been turned into a gift somehow? I think that’s the most important question, and will help me the most “next time”.

I would like to find something that I could give as a present to God. I think giving a present to God — in return for the beautiful time we spend together praying, in return for the protection Jesus brings me, or in return for nothing, just out of love and pleasure — that would feel very nice to do that.

Is it useful to think of certain gifts as gift from the Devil? Tricks or temptations, tests. At first I thought I might think like this. However, the more I think about it the less useful it seems. There is scripture on the Devil giving gifts to lead people astray, so I suppose I shouldn’t completely ignore that. But Jesus is so important to me, especially as a protector. I’m not ready to let the Devil into my spiritual universe yet. I’d rather think of these things coming from God, with all the loving encouragement to find the right path that seems to entail.

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