A friend told me recently that we are given packages in life, so I began to think about the concept of our lives being a series of packages and it seems to make sense. We are given these gifts and all are different, some wrapped in seemingly lovely wrapping, but holding something different from our expectation once opened, while others are wrapped in simple butcher paper but hold a treasure inside. Packages range in size and shape and also in content. We sometimes get more than we bargain for and other times open our package to fine it nearly empty, but the truth is that when you accept a gift, it becomes yours and you own it.
Often we don’t realize the gifts we have until they are no longer ours, the packages opened and the contents familiar, then suddenly taken away. Tonight I drew the card: Follow the Scent and I was reminded that the memories of our lives can be evoked by a familiar or long lost scent, which triggered a memory of my mother in her last few years. I think that as we age, our senses are weaker and for my mother, who loved scents of all kinds, it meant a strong dose of perfume so she could smell it beginning with Oscar de la Renta, then later a blend of eucalyptus, Stress Relief, it is called, doused liberally and filling the room with her presence even after she left the room. Now I miss those smells and I find myself inhaling as I stroll through her rooms in the house, or drive in her car, which is now mine. If I take in the remnants of her scent, I actually get choked up and feel a wave of her sweeping over me. It is torture, but I love it.
The thing about packages is that they sometimes arrive when least expected, as a surprise and other times I feel like a child waiting and wishing for the holidays and my package arrives late, slightly torn open on the corners, and not quite as prettily wrapped as I would expect. I open the package up, cautiously, not sure if it will meet my expectations, and then get something I have to keep even though I have no use for it, like a handmade knit sweater that I will never wear. I take out the contents and think, “Great! What am I supposed to do with this?” I am empathetic and don’t want to hurt the gift giver’s feelings, but this package is just not what I pictured, yet here I am stuck with the contents and forced to find a use for them, put them away in the back of a drawer or “re-gift.”
Life is funny that way, delivering surprises and testing us to figure out a use for them. Sometimes a gift card is the best package after all, to be used for what ever you want and saved for a special occasion or just to provide a needed dose of happiness.