Losing a Gift
There are distinct love languages we hear about. One of which is gift giving and receiving. It was not her form of expression she was drawn to physical touch and acts of service, but still receiving something was a rare gift in itself. She was one of those women who was purposeful in her gift giving whether it was for friends or in relationships, she put effort and thought into it representing who the person was and what they might desire and need. It was rare to find that effort reciprocated, until one day when he returned from a trip with a simple pair of earrings. They represented more than just a piece of jewelry. They showed that as he traveled abroad and enjoyed his time far away from her, she lingered in his mind and something he saw caught his eye and reminded him of her. Just as their dynamic had been complex and uncertain at times, the story of the gift was as well.
She chose to wear the earrings on an evening out one day and as sometimes things happen with jewelry, the clasps loosened while they were walking and one of the earrings fell through the grates of a drain. She reached down and tried to pry it out with her fingers realizing that the opening was too narrow to get into. Normally, she would have taken it in stride and accepted that it was lost, but these were not just any earrings that could be found anywhere. They were the first gift he had gotten her from a trip he took and brought back.
She was notorious for losing earrings, but this one was special. This pair held significance. It was the first time he gave her something that was meaningful and unprompted. It was a gift that made her feel special and seen. It had nothing to do with material value and everything to do with emotional connection and worth. She was distraught over losing it and couldn't rest until she got it back. The fear that she had lost it forever caused her to feel helpless. She felt compelled to figure out how to save it before giving up.
As she looked around for a stick or something to help pry it out, he stood and watched. Not moving not compelled to help. He was content watching her struggle while he stood idly by. He could tell in the moment that she was triggered by her emotional distress. Gradually, a piece of him saw her need and wanted to fill it. Even when he didn't know what to say or how to move, he knew in his heart that he did not ever want to see her disappointed or sad. Initially, he did the minimum to assuage his guilt. He passively looked along the street for another object to use without making too much movement or effort to go out of his way. She continued to search frantically for another way, looking for screws to undo or a way to lift the grate to no avail.
At one point she found a stick to use as a tool and carefully was trying to maneuver it and pull the earing out. It required deep concentration and focus. She would start to have success and then again it slipped sometimes further into the crevices making it even harder to reach. Still she refused to give up and leave it. This frustration pushed him to try to help her. He grabbed a stick and and together they were working to pull the earring out. When it just was about to rise up, his slight movement led it to drop again. This inability to solve the problem and feeling that his effort actually made it worse, made him pull himself and energy back. Her frustration was mounting with the fact she couldn't reach the earring and his visible lack of effort. She knew herself enough to know that problems like these were hard for her to solve alone.
Then suddenly something came over him. He had watched her struggle for so long to gain something she deemed precious because it was from him and he could no longer simply sit idly by as she worked to figure it out herself without any effort on his part. It was an alpha moment and he was propelled to make her happy and save this object she desired so much. He abruptly got up and walked into a nearby store to ask for a hanger. Given his first attempt at helping leading it to almost drop further, he was fearful to be the one who caused it to be lost forever. So, he handed her the hanger and directed her on how to take the earring out.
She was not strategic or analytical enough to know what to do, but he was. The strength he always brought to balance her out was one of logical and methodical planning. Most of the time she leaned into this because it countered her free spirited and at times emotionally driven energy. Even with his verbal directions, her body language and light hearted nature started to shift into a sullen place from trying to save it alone.
That's when he took the reigns and the role of the protector who doesn't just assist in problem solving but executes the solution. He took the hanger and effectively maneuvered through the holes of the grates, but she knew he couldn't do it alone, it required both of them to put in the work. She instinctively grabbed the stick nearby and helped to support the earring as he carefully raised it through the narrow slits and out of the drain. It was slow and methodical and each of them had to pay attention to the other in the process. If one slipped, the other wouldn't be successful. With the final attempt, the earring came out of the grate and they were able to salvage the rare pair and his precious gift to her.
Saving this earring required two people partnering and working together to recognize it's value and make the effort. One of them could have done it alone, but it would have taken much longer and required so many more steps. Not to mention when only one person is working, they will become frustrated by a lack of effort by their partner.
Sometimes it takes a moment in relationships for both parties to realize that they each have a role to make it work. The collaboration leads to a fruitful ending that both people will be satisfied with. She preserved something that held meaning to her, but in that moment he was also able to see how she values him through this simple object. She could've easily forgotten the earring and walked away, but she chose to fight and salvage it because she knew it's worth.
When both of them were willing to put in the work to solve the issue at hand and accept their role to making it happen, they were both satisfied with the outcome and learned what the other would put forth to make them feel whole and seen. Whether it was to relieve her frustration and sadness for a loss, or to make him feel seen that she valued even the smallest of his efforts because she knew they were genuine and from the heart, they were trying to make each other happy. She was renewed with hope despite some of the frustration and the difficulty in getting to the final attempt.
When love languages aren't the same and the way we perceive the world and relationships differ, this can become a moment of confrontation. You learn a lot about someone's true character when you see how they handle problems in life. In the same regard, how much someone is willing to engage and work with you on solving a problem that occurs also indicates a lot about the potential of a connection. Not everyone sees problems in relationships the same way, and sometimes one person can see the possibility before someone else. If you are there, know that there is usually a reason. Lean into the guidance of that person with the vision and be willing to take a leap of faith. They might see something beyond what's visible to work towards. Sometimes the gift is more than the object.