Yes, the embarrassing rumors are true - I own four accordions.
I've never paid for one, friends and clients have gifted them to me, and I've received each one gratefully.
Receiving accordions is a multi-layered exchange, often moving one's coolness currency in a certain direction. And usually, it's not up.
Giving and receiving are not always easy transactions.
Many of my most valued gifts did not arrive as such, and sometimes it's taken me years to unwrap their offerings.
Poet Mary Oliver has a celebrated line, "Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift."
Accordions can be construed as a "box full of darkness" or for me - a box full of light.
We often think of gifts dualistically.
They're either good or bad. Good if they serve our taste, bad if they don't. We're inclined to measure import by our immediate response, not over the long arc of time.
As someone who loves to give gifts, I get this.
I delight in the pleasure, interest and enjoyment for what I give; knowing I've gifted something someone wants.
However, the reality is, sometimes not getting what we want is more valuable than getting what we want. That's how we learn stuff – the fertilizer that grows our lives and our relationships.
Life is full of these kinds of gifts.
We welcome what we want, only to regret it later, and we push aside what we resist, only to discover later the deep giftedness they offer.
All gifts fall under a great mercy, depending on how we receive them.
When life hands us accordions, what do we squeeze out of the box?