I am learning that love is not about what I want, but what about other people want. A tough lesson. Monday was Maria's birthday and I all sorts of plans in mind – going to an Inn, buying her a necklace and ordering a big expensive vase of flowers. This year I decided to really listen to her, and I decided to give her the gift of very little. I made breakfast in bed for her, did the morning chores. I decided to drive her to the florist and let her pick out the flowers she wanted. We went into the florist and my eye went to a beautiful glass vase filled with daises flown in from somewhere down South.
I watched Maria. Her eyes want to a small plastic far filled with some Primrose. My vase cost $70, hers cost $6. Would you like the daisies, I asked?, but she was off to the refrigerated case and pulled out her small green jar of Primrose. So I bought her the $6 jar. She loves these flowers, she put them on the kitchen window sill so she can look at them while she is at the sink or doing dishes. I thought at first that she was just buying the cheapest thing to keep us from spending money. But I have come to see that this small and beautiful flower – I would never have thought to buy something so cheap – was just what she wanted, was a great gift. It is not, of course, how much money you spend, but how much thinking and feeling you do.
For most of my life, I would have considered a $6 birthday gift too little, a statement of disregard. But it was quite the opposite. That was about me, not the recipient of the gift. By listening, I am learning to love. I have given Maria a lot of gifts and none of them have been for as little as $6. Yet I have this feeling this is one of her favorite gifts. Learning to love means letting go of what I want and I think, and opening myself up to listening and watching.