Monday, August 9, 2010


I have a close friend that gets so anxious when she receives gifts. Makes her feel uncomfortable, as she puts it. I kinda share her feelings on this, but not on my birthday. Bring. It. On! The intention is to feel self-absorbed on your birthday, and it's the one day out of the year where it's perfectly acceptable for it to be "all about me." Right?

It's the other occasions when I feel a little weird about receiving a gift - ya know, like a wedding shower. I mean, think about it for a minute, really. Let me see if I got this right - I am choosing to make a union with a partner for life (or not - oops, did I say that out loud?) and social norms have dictated that people throw presents at me because of that. I know, it was a different economic climate 50 years ago and when couples chose to marry, they didn't have a pot to piss in because they were like 12 years old. Ok, not 12 but 18. Makes sense to me that they might need a set of sheets and a pot to boil some water in (for the potatoes and cabbage). I find it's not necessary that this tradition still exists and wish it would slowly fade away to be buried with the other ridiculous ceremonial practices of the generations past. Wedding gifts today are expected, pre-selected, ostentatious, and impractical.

The gifts that I just can't seem to get enough of are the ones without the tags and the gift receipt attached. I'm talking about the gifts you receive from the heart, the ones that require the labor of love, the hours of a day, the shoulder that's there for you to cry on and the laughter from the time spent with a close friend. The gifts I love most are those of experiences, not items:
  • my mom cooking a wonderful dinner for me and baking her yummy desserts - more junk in my trunk
  • my family helping me move - only 12 times
  • my close friend spending time with me chatting and laughing over a bottle of wine - don't worry, my kidney told me it hates wine
  • surprise Sunday adventures that fill me with happiness, planned by a special friend
  • emails from old friends that have slipped away over the years
  • a card in the mail
  • a smile from a stranger - like from the cute guy at the gym that is half my age and doesn't know I exist
You get it, don't you? I know I do. These gifts are special because they are unconditional. They are not listed on an index card that Hallmark created as a suggestion to present to someone. They are presented with unconditional love, thoughtfulness and care. They are experiences, not items that can be purchased in a store. Although every girl can appreciate a little trinket, in a little box, with a little light blue logo that starts with a "T" and ends in an "s". I'm just sayin'. 

The best gift I feel that I have been given is my health. Mom, don't get your panties in a wad because I didn't say 'the green acrylic sweater you gave me for Christmas in 1985'. Sorry about that, but you'll get over it. I rarely have to think twice about an ailment I have. Why? Because I rarely have one. For those of you that are stricken with chronic pain, disease, or even a disability, I give you all the credit in the world. I can't imagine the struggle and discomfort that you must endure every day. I don't have any of those challenges in my life. I wake up, and outside of being stiff from an intense workout the day before, I feel fantastic! I am so fortunate, and blessed to have a body that is not impeded in any way. I love the feeling of getting a yearly physical and actually get excited to read the blood test results. Everything internal works just as it should - with the exception of when I consume a Jimbo combined with a Bomber's burrito too late at night. 

I really feel that God has given me this good health for a reason. My decision to donate my kidney is my unconditional gift to my recipient. I don't know who this will be, and I might not ever meet them. But that's ok, because I don't need to. This isn't about the response or reaction from the recipient. It's about my ability to pass something on to someone that will hopefully create a better life for them. I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful health that it's a no-brainer to not pay it forward. It's like a chain of goodness. I've been given this gift, now I want to give my gift. Hey, I have two of them anyway, right? That would be greedy of me to keep them both, plus I want to make room for more of my mom's desserts down there. I'm giving a gift that is very special to me that I know I appreciate and never take for granted. I know that there is someone out there that needs this, much more than I do. So, take my gift to you, and with it I hope that you can find even a small nugget of the good life that it has given me.

Until next time... word hard, but play harder - we only get one shot at this.


  1. Thank you Angela!
    Today, I got the news that a good friend passed away on Friday and reading your post made so much sense because that is exactly what he was: an unconditional gift! Part of me is sad of course, but part of me also celebrates how lucky I was to know him!

  2. Unconditional love
    is what i have 4 U.


  3. You continue to amaze me as woman, a human being and a friend. Your attitude and outlook is an inspiration to us all and if I can gain just a little from you, I know I will be a better person in this topsy turvey world we like in. You go girl!

  4. It's so nice to read this, not only because it's uplifting in so many ways, but because I relate so much. It was my gratitude for my good health that started me thinking about kidney donation. And all the before and after testing have confirmed that I am in ridiculously good health, through little effort on my own part. Peasant genes, I tell people. Anyway, I applaud your decision to share your good health with someone else. It's going to make such a huge difference in that person's life.

    There are no words between people who share a set of kidneys that can express the enormity of that gift and the enormity of the gratitude. There is nothing to say; and your gift is an even bigger gift to yourself than it is to the other person. Enjoy this process.

  5. Thank you all for your comments. As Nancy said, I am enjoying every step of my journey and am blessed to have so many support me.