Friday, December 10, 2010

Thriving with Neurofibromatosis

Wednesday night, I came home with 8 surprises. Our Church Life Group held its annual White Elephant Party. The objective is to open a gift, or steal someone else's open gift, which may then be stolen from you by the next person in line. Gifts are intended to be inexpensive, fun, unique, and ideally comical.

I spent the day coming up with 8 gifts, one for each of us in the house - and found myself thinking about the intent of game. I didn't want to be cruel and give something offensive (though I admit I walked the line dangerously by giving away our copy of Ring and Ring 2 at a church function...), and I thought back to past White Elephant parties I had been to, remembering the box of toilet paper, old tennis shoes, and even a dirty lawn gnome I'd received.

I went for slightly higher quality, finding functional toys from my kids piles and piles of playthings, to old games we never played anymore, to a rather nice book my husband borrowed a few years ago and never read. It was great watching the reactions of my friends as they opened them.

There was such a wide variety of gifts given that night, from a large, dark wine goblet bejeweled with the world PIMP (first opened by our preacher, of course), to a lawn frog that lights up (which I got), to a pretty pearly pink lamp (Riley was thrilled), to furniture casters (not so well received).

It made me think a bit about Neurofibromatosis (doesn't everything?). We never know what its going to give us. It's easy to look at some people with NF and think, gee, I wish I had it as easy as they do...but with the progressive nature of NF, who knows what we'll get next year?

I watched all sorts of reactions - from my three year old happy to get a fairly well-used barbie car with barbies, to a ten year old unhappy with her useless gift, to my husband, who loves the movies he managed to grab.

Sometimes its not what we get that matters - its what we do with it. Thriving isn't dependent on our circumstances - its a way of handling our circumstances.


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