Today I learned the true meaning of the statement, "it's the thought that counts".
Rather than having it explain away a tacky sweater from in-laws, or a fruitcake from a coworker, I learned the depth of what it can mean, of what it is meant to communicate.
Rather than hearing it as a cynic, today I can say I understand what it looks like, due to a gift from the heart, made sacrificially without thought for self, from one who loves without knowing those she loves.
Sappy? Get to the point, you ninny? Ok, I will.
Today we got a package from Julie H., which she brought from Addis with her on her last visit. She delivered letters for us to the girls, and brought something in return.
Marta wrote a return letter, and then took Julie into her room she shares with the other older girls at Layla. She took down a small box of her personal items, and proceeded to carefully choose a gift for each of us, her family, from the small collection of her things, and sent them to us via Julie. Lisa has a necklace, and the rest of us have bracelets, which are the most precious gifts my children have ever received.
I can't tell you how deeply touched I am that my 13 year old daughter would send us these things of hers, and how easy the tears well up when I tell the story - which I have, to anyone who will listen. What she surely doesn't understand is that she is the gift, from another great gift giver.
The thoughts that jumped into my mind were of the biblical stories of the widow's mite, and Mary's tears and perfume to honor her Savior. Great gifts, which didn't escape notice, and showed the heart of the giver. You see, what Jesus could have said to the rest of the people present, the ones who didn't get it, was that it was the thought that counts.
I speak of the beauty I see in my girls, and yes, I do think they are lovely. But my daughter has incredible inner beauty, depth of character, and a loving heart. I can't wait to meet her.