There’s something special about receiving a gift, but getting something unexpected is the best. Because we’ve come to expect gifts for birthdays and other special occasions, receiving a surprise gift seems even more exciting. But there are some gifts we receive and quietly wonder, “What am I supposed to do with this?” You know, the ones you might get at a White Elephant or Secret Santa gift exchange, or even from that relative (you know the one). The feelings that come from receiving one of those tend to be a little different, though we’d never admit it.

It was just a few months ago when we exchanged gifts during the holidays and celebrated the dawn of a new year and a brand new decade. ‘Twenty-twenty Vision’ was on minds everywhere. Goal setting was on everyone’s mind, and the joy that comes with almost anything new filled the air. Positivity bubbled over like freshly poured glasses of champagne. It was an exciting and hopeful time of year.

Now, with the first quarter of the decade already behind us, it seems like the first three months of 2020 have been a long YEAR. The world received the ultimate White Elephant gift in the form of the Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19. You probably think I’ve been isolated too long. I understand but hear me out. The gift I’m talking about isn’t the actual virus. It is the benefits we’ve received as a result of it.

How many times have we complained about one more business trip or not having enough time at home with our loved ones? When did you last mention not having time to do X, Y, or Z around the house? How often have you dreamed of taking a break from the busyness of life? Well, we’ve got it!
It may not have come the way we hoped, but it is here nonetheless. With our movements curtailed and access to common distractions eliminated, we’ve got plenty of time to do the things we need to do. In some cases, some of the things we want to do.

This surprise gift has given us the time we need to re-focus. We have a chance to re-prioritize things. Clichéd comments about “20/20 vision” from just a few months ago have given way to thoughts of preserving health and helping neighbors. Stuff we forgot we loved has re-emerged. For me, it’s dancing! Thanks to Debbie Allen and DJ D-Nice, I have danced more in the past month than I have since college. Even our goal setting has been re-purposed with less focus on hustle mentality and more attention to relationship building.

The shift from what was to what is has been swift and shocking. With our lives and routines disrupted, the discomfort of the unknown could send us into frenzied anxiety. Don’t let it. Look at what you’ve got. Identify the areas where you can put your gift to good use. This time and these circumstances aren’t going to last forever. They haven’t occurred for naught. Take advantage of this gift. Put it to good use. When the restrictions are lifted, and we’ve mobilized again, let’s move more intentionally, with more kindness and substantially better than before.


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The PlaygroundThe Surprise Gift