So, I was working to buy something big. Really big...not a smartphnone, or an ipad; not even a new computer. It was big. Think "mansion", but I only had a fast-food sized paycheck.
I had some money...I had earned some of the price this would cost me - I had it in the bank. But I knew I was a LONG way from even a down payment.
Then, one day when I was going to the bank to put a little more money into the account, I was told that my mansion had been bought for me - that it was a gift.
I checked the calendar - no, it wasn't April fools day. I asked the cashier what they were talking about (truth be told, I hadn't really shared my goal with anybody). The cashier reached under her desk and handed me an envelope. "I was told to give you this."
I opened it up, and it was the title to a house. Along with directions to the location, and a small set of blueprints. This place was more than what I had fantasized! Things I'd only briefly thought of were filled in with exquisite foresight...the office was perfectly outfitted, the media room could rival a movie theater. And the music room? I could barely comprehend how awesome the music room was.
The last piece of paper in the envelope was a little note...short and sweet. It said "paid in full - a gift, if you will accept it."
In person, things were even better than on paper. The colors were soothing, the furnishings were perfect, this house was more suited to me than my body was.
But now, I had a problem. Who gave this to me? How could I pay them back? And why me?
So. Here my paths diverged.
In one world, I could not accept that someone had given me such a thing. I turned my back on it - in that world, I don't know what happend to the place. I kept working, kept saving, kept trying. I knew I didn't deserve such a place, and I could not accept it. Eventually, I was able to buy a small little place. Just a few rooms - not really enough space for my family, no extra room for an office, or for music. But I died knowing that I owned that place...that it was all mine.
In another world, I accepted the place, but I could not accept it as a gift. I worked the rest of my life, doing all I could to repay the debt. I found my benefactor, and I told him thank you, and despite his protests, every extra penny I had went to paying him back. I didn't like him much, though. I felt guilty for taking advantage of him, and I was always worried that "the other shoe would drop"; that one day he would make a demand that would destroy my world. I lived a life of depression, knowing I did not deserve what I had and fearing I would never be able to pay for what I had been given.
And in another world, I found joy. I accepted the gift that had been offered me. I knew I could never repay - but I also knew that my benefactor had known this. How could he *not* know? He had designed this place to suit me better than I knew myself...it was obvious that he knew what I could do and what I couldn't, and for whatever reason, he chose to give this to me, anyway. I invited him to the housewarming party, and even though he was of such higher social status than I, he accepted my invitation. He told me that he loved me and that's why he gave me the house. I accepted what he said, but I didn't understand. Still, we became friends and we spent more and more time together.
As we became friends, sometimes he would ask me to do a favor - and because he was my friend, and the favor was so small (especially compared to the gift he'd already given me), I was glad to do it. Sometimes it was a challenge to do what he asked - but I did it and I was *never* sorry I did.
So now, dear reader, it's time for you to figure out what I'm talking about, and time for you to decide how you will respond to the gift that's offered to you.