my gifts

Some are loved because they are worthy.
Some are worthy because they are loved.
-Thomas Merton

The gifts I got for my 28th birthday arrived in all sorts of packages, very few of them actually wrapped in paper. They came as heartwarming text greetings, a thoughtful breakfast on a tray at the office, a moving “eulogy”, phonecalls, sweets (yummy!), wishes written on hand-shaped cards (“May you have more gifts than you can hold”), cheery renditions of the birthday song, heart-baring YM chat sessions, a dinner date despite a hectic pre-wedding schedule… and more!

I didn’t deserve any one of them. Then again, who deserves gifts? In its essence, gift-giving is an act of grace. And so is gift-receiving. When you’re at the receiving end of someone’s generous expression of love, you are placed in a position of humility and awe. An instinctive reaction is to immediately think of some way to return the favor, to repay the giver. But that somehow diminishes the power of the gift, degrading its grace-filled wonder to mere transaction.

The best response to a heartfelt gift is gratitude and a sober understanding of how undeserving and nonetheless loved we are. Do not resolve to repay the gift-giver or attempt to even out the score. Instead, work to improve your love for others: Love harder – less fearfully, more fiercely. You will find that your love, when it is full, inevitably wraps the most thoughtful of gifts – from the simplest to the most extravagant – that convey the deepest, most affecting messages which only the heart can open, unbound by any expectation of reciprocation.

* * *

To friends and family who have made my birthday special, Thank You! In you own little ways, you have plowed and watered a long-arid ground where hope, joy, and peace have once again sprung to life. Your love, as shown in your thoughtful gifts, is a resounding call for me to worship the Giver of “every good and perfect gift.”


  1. haberday Aleks!! bro, kunin mo yung photo mo galing sa eulogy ni bijoi. matino yung kuha at minsanan lang lumitaw ang mga ganung kuha.

    ay, dapat ba encouraging ‘to? joke lang bro!

    (grabe isang taon na simula nung conference mo dito)



  2. kakakita ko lang nung blog name ni brother pope – blogging handa?!?! MWAHAHAHAHAHA. Ang KORNY! Parang ikaw. runs in the family pala noh? (grabe natatawa pa rin ako hanggang ngayon)


  3. polaris! mang-asar daw ba! hehe… thanks for greeting πŸ™‚ yep, one year na since i visited u there in maryland – but i remember it like it was last week πŸ˜‰ sa uulitin? (faith itu!) sorry ha, may mais talaga sa dugo namin! korni ng kuya ko noh? (*hugas kamay*)

    ivy, 10 eulogies? daig ko pa pusa! hehe. hope u’re making the most of ur rest time. sige lang, ubo lang nang ubo.

    jen! thanks for greeting πŸ™‚ nice to see u at the launch.


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