When I was a child, I used to watch a show on PBS called “Breaking Bread with Father Dominic,” featuring a jovial, chuck-taylor-wearing monk straight out of St. Bede Abbey. Father Dominic taught a wide variety of delicious recipes, but more importantly, he shared the wisdom and holy teachings of his extensive history within the church.
One lesson in particular has stayed with me throughout the course of my life, and it’s a lesson that I still hold dear. It has influenced many of the choices I’ve made in my life, and remains an aspect of my personality that I strive to teach to those around me.
During an episode in which the good Father was explaining a complex bread recipe, he shared the story of a dinner he enjoyed with a friend several years before:
During the course of this dinner, he noticed that the lady of the house had an exquisite set of china stored in the cupboard in the dining room. He inquired about the origins of the dishes and the lady replied that they had been a wedding gift and that she was saving them for an extra special occasion. Father Dominic asked if these dishes had ever been used, to which she answered that no occasion had seemed quite special enough to risk damaging the delicate plates and saucers. After giving this some consideration, the monk countered with another question. What if that perfect special occasion never comes, or what if a disaster occurs and the dishes are destroyed anyway? Simply put, the potential and all the good intentions imparted in those beautiful china dishes will have gone to waste.
Something bright and strong welled up in me upon hearing this story. I was only in middle school, but the truth in those words hit a deep chord, and I’ve never forgotten the lesson.
Gifts are given with the intention that they be used and cherished.
God has given us so many gifts, and it can be so easy to sit back and take those gifts for granted. When things in your life begin to look dark, simply sit back and think about the blessings you have. Above all, God has given us the ultimate gift – salvation and forgiveness. One cannot sit back in fear of living through difficult times.
Stand up, face forward and step boldly, knowing that the Godly gifts you’ve been given will not crack or chip.