My previous blog posts about Bronnie Ware's book talked a lot about some gifts we are given. This great blog post by Paul Buchheit is called The Gift and is about the same kind of gifts.

He talks about what happened to his daughter who had very big health problems after she was born. And then he says:

In every tragedy, there is a gift, if we are able to see and accept it. From my brother, I received a personal understanding of death, and a constant reminder to live my life as though it may end at any moment. From my daughter, I learned what it means to love unconditionally, without expecting anything in return, a true gift.

These gifts were delivered at great cost, but still I often struggle to retain them. Life gets busy, and I forget what matters. But the reminders are all around us, if only we can open our eyes.

[...]

When our lives are smashed to bits, and it feels like the ground has disappeared from under us, we look for guidance, for our North Star, for a God that can provide meaning and direction to what remains of our life.

Then he starts to talk about God and tells us a little story about God and the Devil that ends with the following:

God was betting on Love, but the Devil believed that Greed and Fear are stronger than Love, and therefore even good people could be tricked into following him.

He then explains his idea behind the story and says:

God brings union through unconditional love. The false Gods bring division through fear and greed.

Genuine, unconditional love is a gift that must be freely given and freely accepted, with nothing expected in return. Love can not be delivered at gun point, or with the threat of eternal damnation. That's more like rape.

My opinion is that indeed when we are in a tragedy, we often have to choose between on one side following Unconditional Love and Forgiveness, or on the other side following Fear and Greed. This choice is very important. It is not a definitive choice though, we can choose to forgive or to be afraid later about what happened.

So the gift that tragedy gives us is this awareness of this choice we can make, if we are open enough, we get to taste Unconditional Love, and sadly Fear too.

I already talked about Love and Fear in some previous posts like this one.

What is interesting is that we get a choice. We are free to choose. We are free to decide which kind of spirit will lead our life.

Paul's blog post ends with:

In this winter of fear, suffering, and division, the God of Unconditional Love gives comfort and direction. His spirit is reborn in our hearts when we give the gift of unconditional love and forgiveness to others and, most urgently, to ourselves.

As Christmas is near, let's try to give others and ourselves this Gift.