The Gift, The Giver And Numbered Days

by Kevin Burton

   The gift arrived on a Friday afternoon in the office where the words dance freely. 

   The practical meets the inspirational there. The gift speaks to both. These are the intentions of the giver.

   With anything so sublime, naturally, Snoopy is involved. Snoopy is on top of his doghouse bent over a typewriter, working on that novel. Red house with a black base, black typewriter.

   Snoopy is a picture of concentration.

   Makes me think of “It was a dark and stormy night,” the starting point for all Snoopy’s writings in Peanuts. Makes me think of Charles Shultz, creator of Peanuts.  Schultz died in February of 2000, eight days before my father died.  Makes me think of that too.  

   The gift is a reminder, an encourager. It isn’t subtle but neither is it harsh.

   Along the bottom of the doghouse is written “Happiness is a new day” because the gift is a perpetual calendar. This is the practical part.

   There are three long pieces, four sides each, that have the months of the year written on them.  There is a slot to display one of these pieces.  Two pieces shaped like dice have the numbers, to be changed each day.

   One clue toward the inspirational; Snoopy, on his doghouse, is not scrolling idly through Facebook. Somebody’s meal, somebody’s politics, somebody’s cute puppies. Nope. He’s on task.

   The gift, through the voice of a much-beloved beagle, in the hands of a much-beloved wife, says, “write, make it happen.”

   There is also a message to be had about days being numbered. Truth?

   Shakespeare wrote a lot of things before his days ran out.  In Hamlet, he wrote about “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”  I don’t talk like that, but I like it that he did.  It’s a useful phrase. It is similar in meaning, if not in tone, to a sentiment expressed by the Isley Brothers, in the song “Fight the Power” from 1975.

   It’s a rough and tumble world but God gives us gifts to help make it through.  It’s only in that context that the gift from my wife makes sense.

   My gift from God seems to be, writing. I’ve heard that enough over the years. By writing I cleanse my inner pallet. It’s a defragmentation of the mind.  It lends perspective, quiets the noise. It slows the world down, beings it to heel.

   I hope to do that for you too. It’s part of my purpose for shaping thoughts here on Page 7. That goes along with the part about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

   The bag the gift came in reads “We create ourselves as we go.”  Well, yes and no. God created us for a time and place and purpose. But we are works in progress with the freedom to correct our flaws and sometimes, to change our immediate circumstances.

   The wife says the gift was an impulse buy. Maybe so, but I believe, not merely so.

     As I change that calendar number each day, I am reminded that God has granted me another day, another chance to paint a word picture, to make a difference.

   And that’s the real Gift, the capital-G Gift, another bright and shining day on God’s earth. The practical meets the inspirational there. The Gift speaks to both. These are the intentions of the Giver.

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