“It sounds like you’re in the car. What are you up to tonight?” I ask my daughter who lives four hours away.
“Oh the kids are restless after sitting in church, so we thought we would take a little drive before dinner.”
After wishing her well I hung up the phone, gathered my Sunday dinner contributions, and walked across the street to my mothers house. My hands were full. I knocked on the door with my foot. Without any wait at all, the door was thrown open, and I was greeted by three young guests I hadn’t expected. Apparently the kids had been so restless that my daughter and her husband had taken them on what certainly would be considered more that just a Sunday drive.
Then there were the kinds of things said that you would expect. “No Way, I can’t believe you’re here!” “How long can you stay?” “When did you decide to come?” – And lots of hugs and kisses!
Finally we settled down and ate Sunday dinner and then sat around the living room chatting. While we were visited a little finger poked me on the arm to get my attention. It was Madeline. “Grandma, I brought you a present. Do you want to see it?”
Maddie placed in my lap a small gift bag. It was obvious that in preparing this gift Maddie had been given full reign of the family ribbon collection. On the front was an aqua blue store-bought bow, the kind you peal the back off and stick on a package. On the handles of the gift bag she had tied a crayon blue ribbon with shredded ends for decoration and a green cloth “Dillard’s” kind of ribbon. Out of the top of the bag flowed tissue paper. Not the kind that is customary today but the kind that comes off the roll in the bathroom.
I placed my hands inside the bag and drew out a 4-inch wooden birdhouse. Maddie had painted it pink and decorated it with a butterfly sticker on the front and on the back a lavender hand-painted heart. On the top was a hanger. Knowing I love birds and bird “things” and that I decorate my Christmas tree with birds she said, “You can hang it on your tree Grandma!” I thanked her profusely, showed it to everyone in the room, placed the gift back in the bag, and set it on the floor beside my chair.
The next morning my scripture study took me to the vision of the Tree of Life in the Book of Mormon. Nephi says the tree is “precious above all,” and the angel of the Lord says that this precious tree is a symbol of God’s love for us. I also read the description of the exquisitely delicious fruit this tree produces. For me the tree has come to represent Jesus’ great expression love for you and for me – the Atonement. And the fruit – well once when I was studying this section of scripture with my dictionary near by. I decided to look up the word “fruit.” I was reminded that although “fruit” is apples, oranges, and bananas, it’s also a synonym for the word “results.” This thought came to me: “Nannette, those who partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life are the partakers of the fruits or the results of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the greatest result or gift that comes out of His sacrifice is your personal conversion or change through His love and direction and power.”
As I was doing the dishes later that day I was thinking about the word “precious” and just what makes a gift “precious.” I determined that gifts are precious to me based on my love for the giver, the personal cost at which the gift is given, the motivation behind the giving, and my personal need or enjoyment of the gift. All of these factors make the fruits or results of the Atonement the most valuable gifts we can ever receive.
At that moment my thoughts drifted to my little pink birdhouse and my final interaction with Maddie the night she gave it to me. “Nannette, Maddie’s gift qualifies as precious too. You accepted it. You thanked her for it. You showed it around. You placed it back into the bag and set it beside your chair. You finished the evening, went to the door, said good-bye to everyone. You were ready to leave when Maddie came running up to you holding the little decorated gift bag. “Aren’t you going to take your present Grandma?” “Oh yes, thank you Maddie!” Then you set it down again. She had to bring it to you twice.”
Then right there in my kitchen tears sprang to my eyes with this final thought. “Nannette, Jesus is like Madeline. He will bring you His precious gifts as many times as it takes for you to actually walk out the door holding them in your hands.”
By Nannette W.
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Copyright 2008 by Nannette W. All rights reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit. This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.