all of the selves we Have ever been
When I was in third grade, I gave my teacher a Valentine’s Day gift. It was a heart-shaped box filled with assorted Russell Stover chocolates.
I carried it to school so tenderly that an observer might have thought it was an actual beating heart about to be transplanted into the body of someone I loved.
Truth be told, my own heart was torn that day. I was filled with pride and excitement at being able to give such a spectacular gift. But my heart was also overflowing with an amount of envy I could barely contain. I wrestled with the devil when it came time to part with the gift. It was like holding the winning lottery ticket and having to hand it to someone else.
Oh, how I wanted that box of chocolates! A child would have never received such a Valentine back then. Gifts like that were reserved for adults only. That blessed grown-up might offer a lucky child the opportunity to pick “just one” from the box. The weight of such a choice was enormous. A child might pick a sweet, delicious chocolate-covered cherry, or find herself biting into a coffee cream as bitter as her disappointment.
All that third-grade day, I wondered if I would EVER receive such a valentine. It had nothing to do with finding romance, love, or even chocolate. I also coveted that box! A heart-shaped box?! It defied gravity and all of the other laws of nature. While it was reported that good things came in small packages, I was pretty sure that the best things came in heart-shaped boxes trimmed with ruffled red ribbon.
Obviously, the giving that day was more about me than about the teacher. At best I was showing off, at worst, I was brimming with envy. But as all children do, I was learning the life lessons that come so slowly, lessons about giving and receiving, about generosity and selfishness, about desire and self-control, about what lasts and what doesn’t.
Forrest Gump said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” Later in life I would learn that sometimes we can reduce the risk and increase the satisfaction by locating the key that is printed somewhere on each box of chocolates. It is possible to make better choices when you are a grown-up and know how things work.
Thankfully, giving is no longer about me and my own desires. My needs are met, and my heart is full, not with envy, but with a desire to win the lottery and pass it on.
May your hearts be full today and all of your needs met. Choose wisely and remember there is a key on every box of chocolates.
Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you all.
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