My friend Marie found a lampshade in a charity shop that she thought I would like. So she bought it and gave it to me. My first attempt at getting a lampstand for it was hopeless. But the second, much cheaper attempt from Mr Price works well and looks like this. And I do indeed like it.
So I started looking around my house and realising how much of it was given to me; some beautiful old furniture from my parents, pictures and bits and pieces from friends and family – all sorts of things from all sorts of people. And just like the lampshade, these gifts have become part of my home and make it what it is.
More and more I see that we are what we have been given – the hard-wired circuitry of our selves, our genetic inheritance, the times and places we were born into and move into, the experiences that life gives us. Maybe there is some choice in how and where we will place things, and maybe we make some mistakes before we settle on something. But maybe those very choices are also a function of what we have been given. It seems to me that most of what we are is because of what we have been given, both good and bad. The idea of free will and the notion of having choices seems to me to be without much substance.
As I write this little post I feel that I am following my father’s propensity to draw little sermons from analogies, and that surely is yet another thing that has been given to me.