The Unboxed Gift

A Cherished Gift


~The Unboxed Gift~


Kathryn Morrisette Morton Smith

She had just turned eleven; a time when every little girl prefers to feel that her world is certain, and in every way, a refuge.  The white brick home where she lived held warmth; the tiny creek just below her home was filled with minnows and tadpoles, and often kept her entranced for hours; elementary school, though strangely barren of the rudimentary 3 R’s, provided lessons of a different kind and friends in abundance; and her music was found at the church where she realized she wanted to become an organist and the piano lessons which required daily practice for 30 minutes on the family “blonde” baby grand (though every day she moved the clock hands forward to hasten an outdoor fantasy game of ‘Maria Montez’.  She had it all: a beautiful family, a nice home, friends, cultural opportunities, a strong church, music, and wonderful, unstructured hours just ripe for make-believe!

To say that news from her mother and father of an imminent move to a foreign state was devastating to the little girl would not be enough said.  Feelings of betrayal and rebellion crept into her perfect little world.  The mother, whose daughter once skipped in sunlight, now saw her daughter surrounded by a dark, ugly cloud; her secure, small world suddenly transposed into one of uncertainty as she moved into her new surrounds.  Her unhappiness was complete in her new home. 

Whether the gift the mother decided to give the little girl was born of her own wisdom, or whether it was gently nudged into her thoughts as a Divine Gift from above, no one knows.  One day, the little girl came home from school, and the mother took her to the dining room table (The Table), sat her down and handed her a new spiral notebook with instructions not to leave The Table until she had entered three positive happenings of the day into the notebook.  The little girl had never felt such rebellion bursting inside her heart.  Surely she would have to remain at the table forever; for there was absolutely nothing good or positive which she could honestly put in that notebook …of that she was certain. 

Perhaps, in order to leave the table that day, the little girl simply entered a few conjured thoughts, for it is highly unlikely that she, at that particular point in her life, would have been aware of anything positive as she had carefully programmed her mind to accept only the negative.  Yet, even if those first three entries in her notebook were merely figments of her imagination, she instinctively knew that staring the next day she’d best look for three possible notebook entries, her mother could not be manipulated otherwise!  After all, the sooner outside to play ‘Maria Montez’, the better!

Better?  Yes indeed, things did get better!  Not all at once, but in time the sunshine began to return to the little girl as she learned to look beyond the rain to find the rainbows.  The Gift, though used many times, has never worn old.  In fact, as the years passed and more of life lay behind her rather than ahead, The Gift continued to be an invaluable resource for her.  It was an important lesson, which she never forgot.  She also never forgot who gave her The Gift.  Thank you, my dear Mother!

                                                                     My last Christmas with her … Christmas 1988 ~ from "Gifts"                                                                                                                 Beverly Smith (Zacharias) Herrington


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