We are talking about Threshold gifts in this week’s HCB book club discussion. We are on chapter three of Lewis Hyde’s The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World. Join us here and here for more words inspired by this book.
Threshold gifts or “gifts of passage” are those given to usher the recipient into a new life role. The gifted one stands on the threshold of some transformation, whether it be from singlet to wife, childless to parent, student to graduate…etc.
The gifts given at these times, Hyde says, “…are meant to make visible the giving up we do invisibly”. As we die to this old life, the gift is a symbol of “the promise of what lies ahead”.
Hyde speaks not only of the gift recipient, but of the giver. The giving of the gift, he maintains, is “the act of gratitude” that completes the giver’s transformation into his own new role. The grandmother gives her daughter’s first child the baby blanket she wrapped her own babe in. This gift completes the transformation from mother to grandmother.
“A gift isn’t fully realized,” says Hyde, “until it is given away.”
We must experience this knowledge–this deep gratitude—before we can move on in our individual development.
In his discussion, Hyde refers to “lessons on living”—a larger intangible example of transformation catalyst, but I could not help holding this concept up to my everyday outlook.
When I view my world through the lens of gratitude…I am transformed. I am able to bestow the gift of grace—that monumentous gift bestowed upon me—when I live in such a way that recognizes the sacrifice made on my behalf.
“The labor of gratitude accomplishes the transformation that a gift promises. And the end of gratitude is similarity with the gift or with its donor…”
A life that reflects gratitude makes me look more like Jesus.
I give my gifts away for the promise of that end. I transform my mind, passing along what I receive with this eternal hope dangling before me.
Putting a big red bow on it today…
Giving grace away for free.
Please consider joining the gratitude community over at Holy Experience. It will transform you…