Brake lights blur as far as I can see. If nothing changes, I will be late for work. It is a flat, gray, Monday and I don't see the goodness in it yet.
The man kneels beside his daughter and holds the bright blue bouncy ball that she's won. It's her prize. She jerkily lunges to grab it from his hand, but he closes his hand around it and hides it behind his back. I look on, puzzled.
He makes sure she's looking at his eyes.
"This is a gift for you, my dear," he says, gently. She slows down, stops fidgeting.
He has her complete attention. He says something quietly, with the heart of a teacher. "Remember the gifts, my dear, and have gratitude."
He takes the ball from behind his back and opens his palm. She carefully takes it from him. Her new eyes scan this present for its value. This gift...for her. I almost forget that it isn't fragile.
With this one moment, I am all wrung out and undone. A million things go right in a day, and I only notice the wrong. I feel the fall all over again- spilled out so clearly in my striving, in my quick actions and sharp words. If it wasn't Eve, it would be me, remembering productivity while forgetting love. It would be one hundred small ways I overlook the good.
This is a gift for you, my dear. Have gratitude.
A loon flies out low along the water. I remember again that it is all gift- this sunrise, these breaths, my car starting. This life, so messy at times, with an extravagance that hides behind familiarity. I open my eyes wider.
I count more gifts; they multiply. For some reason, I start to include the things that are harder to label as gifts, like waiting and disappointment. I remind myself that redemption is a funny thing. It likes to use my broken pieces, nothing wasted.
The trees shake branches to some unknown hymn, and I know it's not a question of the gifts or even the Giver. It runs deeper than that. My own hummingbirds still and I wonder: will I be found grateful?