Who doesn’t love it when someone comes to their home bearing gifts? Whether they were invited or not, if someone comes to my home with a present for me, I want to welcome them in and serve them my finest tea! What a thoughtful gesture! The kindness should definitely be returned!
But what about those uninvited guests that bring gifts that you aren’t quite sure you needed or even want? Even worse, what if they didn’t bring anything, or brought you something that made you uncomfortable!? Can you still be grateful? Can you still show the same kindness?
Circumstances in life are like guests in our home. The good circumstances, like landing an awesome job, or getting a promotion, getting married, winning a competition, having a family, etc., are usually welcome and invited. While they come with hard work, the gifts they bring are usually joy and happiness (just to name a few). The bad circumstances, however, like losing a job, getting rejected, getting divorced, etc., are not as welcome. In fact, they are oftentimes violently rejected. We can take it quite personally and offensively. What we easily forget in those times is that although we may not have wanted that circumstance, it is still a gift.
The wrapping it came in may seem horrendous, but what if you took that gift graciously and unwrapped it? Play with it. See what you can do with it. On the outside it seems pointless, but if you give it a chance, you might be surprised at the real gift inside!
Some people sit around waiting for circumstances to change so that they can finally be happy…They throw away all the gifts from their uninvited guests, mumbling, grumbling, waiting for them to leave already! “Well, I didn’t invite them,” “I didn’t ask for that,” and “They should know I don’t like that or need that…” They sit there in their misery celebrating only when guests bring them gifts that they like and appreciate- things they “think they need”. Anything else is NOT welcome.
I have a friend who is always laughing and joyous, and way back when (during my divorce) I spoke to him of my woes, he would always say the most annoying thing, “Just be happy!”
I would get so upset when he said that. I would think, “but you don’t understand what I’m going through! How can I be happy when such and such is happening to me!?”
His response was always the same: Just be happy!
For the longest time, as much as I cared for him I secretly resented it and wondered if he was really not happy and just putting on a show about being happy. I would secretly look for clues as to his unhappiness. I saw him go through loss and insecurity but he would just float through it as if it hadn’t phased him.
I began to assume, he must be a fake! How could anyone be that happy in times of trouble?
I justified my sadness saying, “When crappy stuff happens you’re supposed to feel crappy! You’re supposed to talk about it and process the emotions! I WILL be happy! Just not now…” When my uninvited guest (a.k.a. “circumstance”) leaves…
Then I realized… Being happy isn’t dependent on circumstance. Happiness doesn’t come and go. It’s always there. It’s always inside. Every day is a welcomed gift, even if it comes disguised in something that looks like something we don’t want or need. We just have to choose, daily, if we want it or not. If we are willing to unwrap it and use it.
Circumstance is the uninvited guest, and whether that guest brings you a gift you want or don’t want, it is always a gift.
Unwrap it. Find the blessing.
And if you can’t find the blessing, say thank you anyway.
You will understand what its purpose was for later.