The White Elephant Gift

There are entire days when my camera is there, but my heart isn't. I apply the sunscreen and bug spray and weather appropriate attire, but I do not apply myself.

I am watching but not seeing. I am calling out but not communicating.

I teach Caed to play PIG and I throw the game so we can wash up, get to bed, close eyes and mouths. I am wandering in thought to nine o'clock when it is only seven.

I am spent, and I want to be alone. And it's not even about the day being hard. It wasn't. I woke up wanting to be alone.

This is the truth I don't like admitting.

Last night my husband said, "You like to take pictures and tell stories, but sometimes that comes at the expense of the moment. You're there, but you're not there. You're taking the picture, not being in the moment..." He went on to describe (and I paraphrase here because I didn't dare take notes!) that I often sit on the outskirts of experience. I watch and document like a reporter, an outsider. I do not participate full-fledged.

This was by no means a guilt trip. He was simply pointing out the truth. The same truth that I don't like admitting. I guess the word is out whether I admit it or not.

So the gift I unwrap this week is an uncomfortable realization. It is the white elephant gift--the one I pass around and hope someone else takes--but it keeps landing back on me.

I've quoted these words of Jim Elliot to myself a hundred times, "Wherever you are, be all there."

For me, I think that means a little less camera, a little more eye contact. A little less hurrying through it and a little more engaging in it.

It means that the next time we turn on the sprinkler, I put down my camera and let the moment soak in the old fashioned way. By being in it.

Linked up to Tuesdays Unwrapped, where we're challenged to discover gifts in the ordinary, the messy, the unexpected places. (Even the uncomfortable, awkward, white elephant gifts.)

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