“I brought you some presents for Christmas.” Son smiled as he laid the boxes on the table.
“You didn’t need to do that.” Mom protested as Dad nodded. “I’ve told you that before.”
“I know, but these are special. They didn’t cost much.” Son smiled, pushing a box toward each. “These first.”
“Well, okay.” Mom agreed. She opened her package.
It was an hour of pure Silence. It may not cost much, Mom knew, but it was very hard to find these days. Silence had a flavor that was deep, sweet, and refreshing. Mom had gotten a taste of Silence now and again down the years, but never very much. An hour may not sound like much, but Mom knew that even a moment of pure Silence was like a tonic. She would get a lot of use of this before it was gone. Of course, Silence was also sweet when it was shared with another. She looked at her husband. She would share some of it, she decided, but she would use most of it herself.
Dad found that his package contained a pound of Peace. He had tasted Peace before, but never very often. Peace seemed to arouse envy in others, and whenever any Peace was coming his way, there always seemed to be someone to break it, block it, or simply steal it before it came to him. Peace to savor without anyone to spoil it was a treat indeed. He looked over and met his wife’s eyes. He would give her some Peace as well.
Son saw the reactions to the first gifts and smiled; it was just as he’d hoped. He gave the next gift to Mom and Dad.
These were cups of Satisfaction, giving anything sipped from them the flavor of accomplishment and the deep aroma of a job well done.
Mom had savored Satisfaction in various forms before. She didn’t know what had become of it all, but it was good to have again, in a form that would soothe her senses every time she drank from the cup.
Dad formerly had Satisfaction at his job, though it was rarely given to him by his employers. Rather, he had usually found Satisfaction on his own, often ending up giving it to his employers instead even though he knew it should be the other way around.
Son had his own Satisfaction in these gifts. He smiled and handed them the next gifts.
Mom’s gift was a bottle of Forgiveness. This, she knew, was a gift to give to others. It had no flavor if taken by the owner of the bottle. Mom had often had this gift. The wonderful thing about it was that any time she thought she was running out, she received a new supply. She looked at the much-worn family Bible lying on the table, and didn’t have to wonder why this was so. She gave a spoonful of Forgiveness to Son. Not for anything big – Forgiveness did not have to be used only for that – but just for a thousand little things that had been left lying in the past. The taste of it was lingering sweetness on her tongue, as though she had put the spoon to her own lips.
To Son, the taste was of homemade soup, custard pie, chocolate chip cookies, and a hundred other things all rolled together, ending on a note of homemade whole wheat bread.
Dad’s box held a bottle of Tenderness. This too, Dad understood, was a gift to be given to others. He wasted no time giving some Tenderness to his wife, and felt the love it radiated back to him.
Son smiled, and handed over the final boxes.
To Mom and Dad, the boxes felt light and heavy at the same time. When they opened them, there seemed to be nothing inside. However, each felt a hug, a kiss on the cheek, and a whispered “I love you.” in Son’s voice.
They both smiled, knowing this gift was one they’d already had for a long, long time.
I wrote this for my parents just over a decade ago. My father’s passing brought it to mind.