When Gifts of Love Collide

The gift is acceptable because of what one gives; not by what they don’t have to give. 

2 Corinthians 8:12       

 Last night, Elly cried herself to sleep.  

Our fifth-grader didn’t take the bus home after school on Tuesdays. She stayed in town to take a pottery class, and then her big sister, Nikki, would take her to her house to spend the night.  

Yesterday, my wife had to go to town, so she picked Elly up and drove her home. All the way home Elly babbled about her secret plottings. In pottery class she made a coffee cup. The cup is the color of sand, but has concentric circles with intricate designs on each side of the handle. The first four inner circles are blue, which then yield to green. It’s round but not obsessively so. And, if you turn the handle toward you, it lists slightly to starboard. You can tell it was made with loving hands.  

It’s more beautiful than anything you could ever buy in a store.  


On the drive up Pinkham Creek, Elly revealed her carefully hidden secret: she made a coffee cup in pottery class because she knew how much her daddy loved his morning coffee. It was a Father’s Day present, but that was too far away. She decided she would give it to me as soon as she got home. Joy can’t be kept a secret for long.  

They stopped at the mailbox, descended the long driveway, crossed the cattle guard, and drove into the yard 


Last Christmas, I gave the most joyous gift I’ve ever set under the Christmas tree. Ivan the Terrible was a part of our household before Elly was born. He died last summer, and we promised Elly we would get her another dog. But we never got around to it.  

Then, last December, Krista saw an ad in the Fortine Mercantile for puppies. I got Elly a little (mostly) yellow lab. We put it in a box with a bow and Elly opened it on Christmas Eve. 

It was one of the happiest days of my life.  


But, last night, our gifts of love collided. When Elly climbed out of the van, forty pounds of happy puppy pounced on her. She dropped the coffee cup and the handle broke off.  

She was heartbroken, and, in tears, handed me a handle-less Father’s Day present. I told her it was okay, but she cried herself to sleep anyway 


I’m drinking coffee right now from my broken Father’s Day present. There’s a crack by the handle, so the desk is a little wet, but I don’t care.  


You’ve always thought the gifts of love you give to your heavenly Father are so imperfect and inadequate, haven’t you? Well, maybe you’re just plain wrong about that.  

(copyright 2011 by Marty Kaarre)