I once received a gift. This gift came from a very dear friend. A friend who I had known all my life.
It was wrapped in the most beautiful wrapping paper my eyes had ever seen. Not one crease was misaligned. Every piece of tape was perfectly placed in just the right spot. The bow looked as though it were made of silk and glistened in the light. It was so intricately wrapped, making it the most elegant and beautiful gift I had ever seen.
I did not open the gift right away. I wanted to wait until Christmas. So, I spent days staring at it from afar; dreaming of what could possibly be inside? My anticipation grew as I waited for the perfect moment to unwrap it and reveal its contents.
As I picked it up, very delicately; I held it in my hands. It was mesmerizing, the way it looked; so eclectic, yet so simple.
“Someone must have put a lot of time into this gift,” I thought to myself.
I almost could not bring myself to even open it, because I couldn’t bear the thought of ruining the wrapping.
Eventually, I mustered up the courage and delicately began to peel back the wrapping.
“Hmmmm???” I thought…It feels unusually light?
My mind drifted to picturing a million different possibilities of what could be inside!
Whatever was inside could not weigh more than a feather. This peaked my curiosity even more!
First, I gently removed the bow. Next, I removed each piece of tape, one by one, making sure I did not rip the paper. Then, I removed the wrapping…
“Is this a joke?” I thought with a confused look on my face.
“But…It’s just a box!?”
An old, beat up looking box!
“Well,” I thought, “maybe it was the only box around to put my gift in.”
Nonetheless, I continued opening it anyways. I pulled off the top and looked inside….
It was empty.
There was nothing inside.
I sat there gazing inside this empty box for hours.
As it turned out, that old, weathered, beautifully wrapped box ended up being the greatest gift I had ever received.
It wasn’t the gift itself, because there was no physical gift. I wasn’t given anything that I could hold, touch or even see with my own eyes. Instead, I was given something much more valuable.
You may be wondering, “What was so valuable about getting an empty box?”
My answer to that question is simply, because of what I learned from looking inside. I found value in what I chose to see inside that box. It’s not the emptiness I saw. It was myself. That was the meaning I placed inside of that box.
Inside, I imagined a mirror. A mirror that reflected my best, as well as, my worst qualities back at me. It taught me that it was okay to be curious. Its better to be curious of the unknown than to be fearful of it. I saw the end of a journey and the beginning of an adventure. What I found inside that box was the reality of my past grief and the reality of my unknown future. I found courage inside that box. I was given the gift of a fresh start. A new beginning.
Inside I was able to see whatever I wanted to see. The gift was that it was up to me to choose what I saw.
For it was inside, I recognized my own reality. It was mine and mine alone to create.
Simply put, I saw the empty box as, space. Space that I could fill with whatever I wanted.