The Gift

Why does this stranger crash so hard against my heart? I can’t bear it. My chest feels tight and heavy. Who invited him here? Even as I asked it, I knew. I’d been expecting his visit for some time. He’s been whispering to me. I caught a glimpse of him in the eyes of that deer I saw in the woods. I felt him on the breeze as I walked along the water that day last summer. I’ve heard him singing with the mourning doves: “Share your gift. Live in color.” I’ve always shrugged him away. Until today. I slowly raise my eyes up to meet his. He smiles. “It’s time to unwrap the gift”, he says.

I don’t want to. I beg him to leave. But he won’t go away. He’s relentless as he prods me awake from this cozy dream life to take up residence in one of my own. I close my eyes and cling more tightly to the familiar.

Frustrated, he produces a brush and swiftly paints my world a new color. Soft lavenders, brilliant indigos and emerald greens replace my safe, neutral palette. He sketches me into the new landscape. My eyes open wide and my heart races in panic. I recognize nothing. I’m frozen with fear. “This”, he says, “is where you belong.”

It can’t be. Nothing feels the same. It’s vibrant, beautiful, too real. I feel exposed. It’s not for me. But for once, I don’t push it away. I look around. I breathe deeply. It’s beginning to feel like I can open the gift. Maybe.

“But what if it isn’t what they want?”, I worry. “It is”, he answers.

“What if I don’t know how to give it?” “You do.”

“What if I’m not the best one to share it?” “You are.”

Then, he’s gone. And here I am. Living in color. With a gift.