When I hastily set my empty coffee cup on the catalogs headed for the trash it caused an avalanche. The change I’d found the day before went flying. I quickly set things right before Chase and I had to leave only to get a second look at the “ice sphere” adorning one of the covers. I laughed at the absurdity of it.
“What’s so funny?” Chase asked.
“It’s not worth explaining,” I said as we got in the car.
I pulled myself together and we started our drive to school while we prayed. This is the best part of the day with Chase. I’ll miss it when he starts driving.
When we finished he chose a song to start the day. Cresting the hill that leads to the highway, the Grand Mesa came into view as the familiar guitar intro played. On cue the sun rose above it while George Harrison sang, “Here comes the sun.” My face lit up with a smile.
Chase’s timing was absolutely perfect. His soundtrack framed the moment like it was a scene in a movie.
“Well done,” I said.
“Thank you,” he answered proudly.
We sang along and at the last refrain I started laughing again when I heard, “I feel the ice is slowly melting.”
Back my mind went to the ice sphere nestled in a pair of silver tongs sitting on my coffee table—not to be mistaken for a piece of compressed carbon in a platinum pair of prongs. That might be worth the money. However, spending $1099 on an ice press in order to have a perfect sphere of ice for your cocktails is exactly why I was flabbergasted.
This and many other “exceptional gifts” were what not just one catalog was promoting, but several. To date I’ve counted over a hundred that have arrived in my mailbox. How I got on so many mailing lists I don’t know. I assume any amount of online shopping can propagate your address indefinitely.
In the beginning it was fun to window shop. The pocket hose for $21.99 was hilarious. I kept trying to picture when I might need to pull a 50 foot hose out of my pocket. Some of the ads made me feel guilty though. Why haven’t I bought a memory foam bed for Buddy? Orvis says that as your dog ages they need the extra support. Buddy’s had a rough year surely he’s due one. However, when the ice press was pitched I got over it. Buddy needs a new bed about as much as I need better ice—which is when hell freezes over.
Described as the perfect gift for the person who has everything I could only assume this is someone with a pocket hose whose life is still lacking. It could be made so much better if their ice didn’t melt while drinking their single malt scotch! I suppose when you pour yourself a hundred dollar drink you don’t want to water it down. This is why Bond prefers shaken not stirred right?
The irony is striking to me. At midlife when I have more stuff than I need the last thing on my Christmas list would be pretty ice—even if it were diamonds. What I want is more time—time for sunrises with Chase. Now that his older brother is living away from home I see the same thing on the horizon for him and want to slow down the clock.
Besides time I’d like to feel like the world is friendlier toward my kids. I’d like to believe their unique personalities could be welcomed by a world that truly values diversity. From the catalogs that keep arriving that’s not the message I get. Unique is only a word that’s embraced when it refers to a product not a person. Of course, when you buy that one-of-a-kind item you become just like everyone else defined by their stuff.
It seems we still haven’t figured out that the best gifts are something money can’t buy. You can’t find them in a catalog or department store. They’re intangibles. You can’t wrap your arms around them but they can embrace you—love, joy, hope, and life in relationship with people not “things”. Isn’t that what God intended for us in the first place?
The answer is yes and so while I can’t actually speak for God, I think it’s safe to say His great wish for us this Christmas can’t be found shopping. It’s in our midst already. The gift of His spirit manifest through the glory of creation—seen in a sunset, heard through a song, felt with a loved one. These are the gifts that encourage hope and slowly mold our hearts into a joyful shape. I hope we can all make an effort to enjoy them this holiday season because they truly are priceless.