She never knew life without the gift. It had always been there – a beautifully delicate glowing white box, tied with a silky red bow. She had never looked inside. She didn’t need to. She knew what it contained and there was no reason to open it or use it.
Almost all of her friends had the same gift. They all talked about how special they were to have it and how they were chosen to receive it, when many who are told about it didn’t want it. Who wouldn’t want a free gift? Supposedly, if they told others about the gift and they wanted to receive one they just had to ask and it would be given. But she had never tried that because really it was her gift to have and what if they didn’t want it and then she would feel stupid for offering. Plus, so many others were already sharing about their boxes so why did she need to? And even though she rarely used her box because she didn’t really need it – and sometimes even forgot she had it – what if she shared the news about the gift and then no gift came and she would have to give hers away? Then she couldn’t say she had one to all of her friends. Plus, since she didn’t even need hers, how could she convince someone else they needed one? She had heard stories from some others about how much their box had meant to them and how they relied on it every second of every day. But she had guessed that was for them. She just had never felt that she needed hers that way.
But then one day all of that changed…
Everything in her world started crumbling – disappearing. She kept looking at the box, calling to her to open it. Occasionally she would pull at the ribbon, but she knew she would just be disappointed in opening it. This was not what she needed – how would this gift ever be able to help her? Then, in an instant, everything was gone. She was caught in a room of darkness, not able to see any light. Alone and scared she became frantic. She started feeling the world around her for a way out – any way out.
Suddenly, she caught a flicker of light at her heel. She knelt down and picked it up – it was her box. She caressed the silky texture of the bow unable to believe the gift was still there. She could hear it calling to her – louder now. Warmth trickled out from the seams beckoning her. She slowly released the bow and with a heavy heart lifted the lid. She was struck suddenly with a blindness of light. The warmth shot out of the box and pierced every joint. She fell on her face and wept. This was all she needed – the gift – the free gift. It was bigger than what the appearance of the box had suggested. It was fuller than any box could ever contain, any room could ever fill, any planet could ever hold. She knew it would lead her, love her, grow her and nurture her. She immediately knew she needed nothing else. The brightness of the light receded so that her eyesight recovered, yet the warmth remained. She was out of the darkness and the light was showing her the way – the way to true life. She realized in that moment she hadn’t actually lost everything, it was only her eyes that were blinded to it. Blinded by fear, greed and discontentment. Yet, although she now saw it all before her, she sought no happiness from it, but only from the warmth and love the gift gave her. She realized she could lose it all and yet still lose nothing.
Now that she knew the truth, she longed to share the gift. She couldn’t imagine there being a person out there who wouldn’t want it, but she knew there would be many who wouldn’t understand it and reject it, much like she had. For, even though she accepted and received the free gift, she never opened it or used it. But now that she knew the truth she had to try to tell others to receive the gift. If they didn’t they would be separated from the warmth forever. Their eternity would be darker than the darkness that had overtaken her. She couldn’t think of someone enduring that. So for that she would share. She would try and she would pray that they not only received the gift – but opened it and found out what it truly holds.