This is the season for gifts, but more so a season that reminds us of our mere humanity and all that that entails. Perhaps it is through gifts of various types that we come to better understand our humanity and connections to each other.
After I completed a recent photography session, the woman I was working with inquired how my book about stories of father and son was coming along. I said that it is coming along, though a challenge. She replied, "People are waiting for it." That expression in itself was a gift reminder to persist despite the emotions and challenges of completing the book. She then left the room, and returned with an item she put on the table. I picked it up, admiring the leather case and the name inscribed on it: Voigtlander. It was an old camera. She said, "It was my dad's. I have photos of him carrying that around his neck on our family trips. Of all the people I know, I realize that you'll appreciate that more than anyone." She gave the gifts of an item, an understanding and an appreciation.
Later the same day, a colleague gave me a gift of a music CD of a type that I had never heard before. Her note said the music was art and about living. The music is truly beautiful and compelling, and the lyrics speak strongly to the range of emotions that shed insights into the human condition. The music and the note revealed her understanding of my personal quests and wonderments as a poet and artist; the songs opened a new window to see through. She gave a gift of an item, an understanding and an appreciation.
The following evening presented an opportunity to mix and mingle with friends and fellow photographers at a holiday get together. We talked, laughed, shared thoughts and ideas, and appreciated each other's friendship, as well as abilities. The gifts of friendship, talent, curiosity and sharing made the event a wonderful one, and reminded us that what we share is not always in boxes or bags or come with a bow.
So, the gift of humanity is really of love: love of each other, of moments, of abilities, of expression, of learning and of the opportunity to share. Giving and receiving do matter.
The gift of a very special kind is indeed the reason for the season, and in each small way that we express respectful love of life and living, we honor that reason.
Merry Christmas, my friends.Listen to Life is a free newsletter about learning and getting more from life by paying attention to our own stories and the stories of others, based on the presentations, writings, photography and workshops by Dion McInnis (www.dionmcinnis.com). Copyright 2009 Dion McInnis. All rights reserved.