This morning I was startled awake by a little sparkle on my right hand. Just like a giggly new fiance after eight hours of sleep, I had forgotten about the little navy box, the Harings Jewelry symbol, the surprise inside. As soon as I turned on the light, there it was: diamonds. The generosity of my parents is a never ending stretch to my theology of not enough, of thinking I have to earn love, of fearing that God’s good gifts have to be begged for with just the right choice of words.
Last night, mom and I sat at PF Changs outdoors enjoying an awning in case of rain and a beautiful chat, the kind you sink into and get cozy with. She had flown in yesterday from Philadelphia and walked onto my front porch with suitcases for a short visit. The children all clamored for her eyes to be just on them. They could have cared less that there were presents and chocolate, but they knew there would be.
She and my dad are always thinking about how to love their people. My parents are the type who invite you on their vacation to Italy because they want to see your reaction over the curls of homemade pasta laced with pesto, the vineyards stretched out in the sun, your moans over the thick hot chocolate in the Uffizi plaza. They plan all year for Christmas morning, scheming for just the right gift to wrap and place a bit of tangible love in your hands. They speak generosity like its their native tongue. They sing it like opera stars. I and the many others who are recipients are crazy blessed.
Last night, under the awning, rain patting on the roof with a sudden shower, she pulled out the box. This was the diamond she had worn for forty years through the med school in Italy, the four more in Cincinnati, the five long winters in Maine of surgical residency trudging through those 100 hour workweeks and the three small children. This was the diamond she wore in forty years of faithfulness, forty years of the struggle and the glory of a marriage which was human and scarred but came out of the refiner’s fire brilliant and shining.
And now here was her diamond of forty years in a tiny navy box wrapped up in gold ribbon. And still their generosity did not stop there. I opened the box and a halo of tiny diamonds had been placed around the center and it was something new, and sparkly, and who doesn’t love sparkly? It was generous love on a band. It was over-the-top and stunning and slightly vintage. Just because they’re like that and they know I love all things vintage.
And I will think about them every time I look down and startle at the sparkle and experience their love, but I’ll also think about God. Every time they provide such good gifts, they heal my God image because their generosity points beyond them to MORE. Could it be? Matthew said it like this: “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:11). And I’m listening now because I walked into this prayer closet this morning with the fear that inspiration was somehow a measured out and stingy commodity, that the Holy Spirit only gives out wisdom to the worthy. And sometimes I come to prayer just hoping to catch His attention, when really, God adores to shower good gifts on His children.
I’ll believe it a little more every time I catch the sparkle.