Making gifts is one of my loves. From really small, like a collage postcard, to much bigger like a pillow or sewn thingamajig, it’s fulfilling and satisfying.
It is, in some way at least, a little self serving. Don’t you want to be known for your thoughtful gift? Your craftiness or talent?
That’s one of the reasons why this quote from John Green, so gorgeously illustrated by Zen Pencils [click to read the whole comic], impacted me.
Very rarely do we remember that the value of what we create, or even just what we spend any energy on, is not the external reaction, but is inherent in the act itself.
Also, it may just be my theology background, but I hear the not very veiled Biblical parallels of praying with the door shut. Don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing. That we build a future that is not our own, but the work is not lessened by that.
But we’re human, and it’s hard not to be disappointed when the accolades don’t flow in, the awards are offered to others, and the beauty you share is not applauded loudly, publicly and often.
One of my goals with this project is to not measure it. Believe me, this is a huge feat for my type-a, color-coding, talented-and-gifted self. And wordpress puts the stats right at the top when I’m logged in! I still do my best to look away. To remind myself that this discipline, like any other, is ultimately an exercise in making a gift.
A gift toward my mission of self-exploration, openness and truth without expectations. A gift of words that if one person reads and enjoys, questions, is inspired, laughs, or cries, is worth it – even if that one person is me.
I am now realizing that this could be interpreted as the biggest ‘fishing for compliments’ post ever created. I swear to the storm gods it’s not! I swear. Pat, do not call out the irony. Here, have a gif for your troubles.