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Everything can be reckoned as a gift of God, from oxygen to flowers to oceans to planetary homeostasis, the tilt in the Earth’s axis, its spinning on it, and its circulation around the Sun, which together produce our congenial life supporting atmosphere, our days and nights and seasons. But there are some gifts that are more noteworthy than others, though there is no end to the gratitude we should feel and which is due to God.

I have often pondered on those gifts that may be really special and finally put together a handful of such extraordinary gifts which we tend to take for granted. Gravity is at the top of that list. The force which attaches us to the planet, prevents the oceans and the atmosphere from escaping, gives us weight and defines our physicality. We know what happens to astronauts in space denied gravity. Here of course you jump and land firmly back to earth and your substance begins to have meaning. All the labour-saving miracles of wheels are entirely on account of gravity. Often when I take a trolley full of purchases in a supermarket, I thank gravity ( and the Earth) for lifting the weight which otherwise I might have had to carry. We can go to the Moon and back because of that gravity, and now the Rosetta has landed a lander from its probe on a comet because of the gift of gravitational pulls. No wonder the word gravitas has been coined to indicate a charismatic personality with admirable qualities – a person having his own gravity. Poetically we can thank gravity for waterfalls, flowering, rainfall, flowing rivers, ball games, finding things where we left them, swallowing – the list is endless. But you are warned not to misuse, or be careless with the gift – no jumping from skyscrapers, no dropping of bombs.

Another rare gift is sexual procreation. There are organisms like the amoeba, bacteria and virus that can multiply without need of a partner through asexual reproduction. But the sexual kind is a gift of a higher order which creates empathy, attraction affection and love which otherwise may not have been necessary. It makes beings less hedonistic. If we could all procreate without a partner, happily producing clones identical to ourselves (a narcissistic act if ever there was one), we would be chasing one another not out of attraction but for elimination, out of hate not love. Imagine a world full of ego maniacs concerned only with their own survival, not even concerned for their cloned progeny. From asexual to bipolar love comes compassion, caring, sacrifice, art, culture, civilization and humanity, though its misuse as with jumping from a skyscraper can also be equally disastrous with crimes of self-serving passion. But that is not why it was created – equally true for sexuality as for gravity.

Another rare gift is the deeply embedded maternal instinct which creates the best examples of humanity and altruism we know of. The instinctive maternal compulsion to preserve, protect and nurture progeny is a vital implant and gift. It produces the rarest altruism in all species of living beings, even the extreme sacrifice of life itself for the sake of progeny and that wonderful word mother, which is perhaps the most beautiful noun in any language. It ensures that there are no natural orphans among living things – can you think of a better gift? The maternal instinct improves upon the sexual instinct in raising life to a higher order of altruism. From birds rearing their chicks to mothers suckling their young, it makes living beings fully worthy of existence as admirable and beautiful as opposed to hateful and disgusting, when hedonism alone is at play.

Life of course is the ultimate gift, the infusion of matter with soul. Imagine being a block of stone or metal. Even that is actually quite dynamic, if one looks at atomic structures whirring and being condensed into packets of energy with some form. A form that is neither able to be aware of its existence nor its environment. A form without consciousness. The gift of life enables material forms to experience, move and interact with its environment. Thus organic matter has a gift greater than the inorganic.

But the human form has the greatest gift, that of intelligence and not merely consciousness but self-consciousness. That gift enables it to know itself, not merely sense its environment but to harness it and finally to look beyond at the stars, the universe and creation itself, if not the creator. That gift enables it to seek the creator, much like a child is constantly assisted with skills by its parent to begin a relationship with the parent.

The final gift is the gift of death. Mortality is a subtle and less appreciated gift of finitude, which infinite and ethereal beings must envy.Startling change from moment to moment, from when you first crawled to when you first walked, from when you first grew pubescent hair to when it turned grey, from when you began to read to when you began to write, from love for a mother to love for a partner, from love of a child to love of a grandchild – yes, from infancy to youth to senility, constant experiential  changes from moment to moment, which neither a stone nor an ethereal entity  can experience. Mortality within a given time-frame becomes another rare gift to cherish. An ageless coming into being would be dour, full of endless routine and with a scary changelessness. Who wants to be a vampire. No wonder souls incarnate and reincarnate.

Thus the special gifts of God are, gravity, sexuality, maternal instinct, life and death. Please do share your thoughts about any other such rare gifts that may occur to you.

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