One day last fall, Billy ran in, deposited a pile of rocks on my desk, then dashed into the kitchen and rummaged in a drawer for a ziplock bag.
"What are you doing?" I fairly shrieked. My desk is always the dumping ground for everybody's stuff. It was a bad habit that had to stop.
"I'm getting a bag for the rocks," he said.
"Why?" I yelled. We already have way too many rocks in the house. Everybody seems to have a collection of them. Silly me, I think rocks belong outside. It is a battle that I lose constantly. "Just put them in the baskets in your room with the rest of them."
"But these are for you," he explained as he put the rocks in the bag.
"I don't want any rocks," again, not politely spoken. "I don't need any rocks. Rocks belong outside."
"You're supposed to say 'Thank you' when somebody gives you a present," he said kindly while zipping the bag closed.
I paused. I'm always good at showing appreciation for the ugliest of weeds brought to me clenched in little fingers. I proudly display coloring book pages filled in monocromatically with a child's favorite color. A child's gift to his mother, no matter how seemingly useless or unattractive, deserves special recognition.
Any gift from any person, human or Divine, deserves special recognition.
Even if it is a pile of rocks.
I humbly said my thanks, and the boy scampered back to the great outdoors.
The rocks are still in my desk drawer although I've considered often that I ought to get rid of them. When I did my recent office clean-up, I transferred them to a small plastic container, but in my drawer they remain. They remind me to give thanks in all things, even if I don't really think it's such a great gift.
That unwanted present just may contain a vital lesson in humility and gratitude.