Julia Currie Miller was the usher the day we launched “The Gift Experiment.” Preacher’s daughter, she is always one to be of support to the clergy, so when no one put up their hands to volunteer at the second service she stepped out of the lobby and into the sanctuary to rescue me. It turns out she had no idea what she was volunteering for — a true generous soul. Later, once home, she realized our “scarf” was a “shawl” and it had some rules and obligations. She wrote: “Wearing a silk shawl in public is not the same as wearing a scarf. The only occasion I have to wear the shawl in public this week is to a symphony concert Saturday night.” So the photo you see was taken at the symphony.
Julia’s response made me realize how rare it is that we give gifts with obligations. It seems so un-gift like to do so! However, it also made me think of how that kind of giving can stretch us. What have we done or worn that we would not have because it came in the form of a gift, and we wanted to honor the giver by stepping into it? All food for thought.
Nancy Griffeth had our lavender shawl (now we are responding to the gift-receivers’ concerns by calling it what it is!) for the next week. Nancy wrote this:
I felt some hesitation about asking for a gift in front of everyone. This probably deserves some reflection — why is it hard, at times, to accept gifts? But still, I was about to raise my hand when Julia volunteered to take the scarf on Sunday the 9th. When I mentioned this to her after the service, she volunteered to give it to me next. This turned out to be convenient since she couldn’t attend on Sunday the 16th but instead turned it over to me as we were both leaving a concert at NJPAC.
And then I looked at it, and realized that it was really a shawl, not a scarf, and just not my style. I felt really uncomfortable about wearing it until I put it on and suddenly thought of Tuli — this is like Tuli!! Great, I can go with that. And then I got to church and she helped me learn how to wear it. What fun. And I learned not to put a pin in it, because that could ruin the beautiful raw silk.
So I wore it with pride last Sunday to church, and again visiting with a friend on Friday. Bill took a picture, which is attached.