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My View: All gifts are appreciated, but some are priceless

By Linda Snyder

We’re entering the season of hustle and bustle, where time, energy and money are spent shopping for the perfect gifts. There are demands and expectations that we put on ourselves, many unreasonable and unnecessary. Yet we fall into the annual trap and get caught up in the frenzy.

Is it the right color? Size? Will the recipient like it? Each gift must meet the test. If it doesn’t pass, the gift is returned and we are back to our “to do” list. Like it or not, we get caught up in this spiral or spirit of giving.

We get distracted and derailed in the gift-giving process due to the fact that gifts may have a different meaning and value. All gifts are not valued or appreciated equally. They are either under the “want” or “need” category. If we were to score this process, the “wants” are often higher on the list. I may need a new pair of pajamas but I want a piece of jewelry.

This year I took inventory of gifts I have valued over the years. A few items stand out as favorites: a black onyx ring, body lotion by Ahava and a pair of inexpensive fuchsia knit gloves from my nephew, to mention just a few. None of these falls under the “want” or “need” list, but each was given with a joyful and giving spirit.

There are gifts that stand out as special and unique. And then, there are my mother’s pearls. They are sentimental, hold a special place in my heart and they are priceless. A real treasure.

You can’t put a price tag on priceless.

Two years ago, I received a rather special gift that exceeded my expectations and to this day remains priceless. Yes, even more priceless than my mother’s pearls.  This gift still grips me to the core of my being and I get choked up thinking and talking about it.

The gift came unexpectedly. No particular occasion, event or holiday. Like a gift from the secret Santa, but not at the holiday season.

Someone unknown to me. The gift wasn’t wrapped. I didn’t handle the item. It wasn’t hand delivered personally or by FedEx.

Yet it would serve me daily and change my life forever. It was a gift that would sustain me and restore the quality of my life. A gift that would once again make me whole, and life more fulfilling and purposeful.

The gift was perfect. It filled my want and need. It was a perfect match – O positive.

On April 16, 2014, I received the gift of life. A kidney transplant! And that precious gift still serves me well today. As I reflect on that day, blessed, fortunate and privileged describe my feelings. I am still incredibly grateful to my donor family for their generosity.

To all the kind-hearted donors: Your selfless spirit of caring is immeasurable and unquantifiable. Thank you for your selfless choice as you grieved your own loss. The decision to extend another person’s life demonstrates love and respect for life.

To my donor’s family: I do want you to know that your loved one is with me and, with his support, together we are doing really well. With his help, my kidneys are functioning as they should and are keeping me healthy. We are best friends. He is my constant companion, a loyal friend and my hero.

Since it is a time of thanks and giving, once again, I want to thank you. I have created a new life for myself and think of your family often. I consider you my heroes, as well. And at night, when I count my blessings, I do remember you.

To all living donors and registered donors, thank you for your gifts!

Linda Snyder, who lives in Buffalo, serves on the faculty of a local private college and is a certified coach.
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