Last week, the internet registered a seismic shift when a renown media personality gifted his wife with cheque of Ksh 1million for her birthday. I must say from the onset that the purpose of this post is not to discuss that couple. Mama brought us up well so I don’t do such things.
Ladies went gaga over the magnanimous display of love. Some lamented that since they got married, their hubbies have never as much given them Ksh 500 to have their hair done, let alone a million. Others lamented that they have never been taken for holiday, despite having been married for a quarter of a century now.
Look ladies, if you got married to a man from Murang’a who believes in saving all his money in Equity Bank, accept your choices. Expecting him to take you to Seychelles like Nyanza men do is like expecting a goat to lay eggs. Even if you fed it on layers mash for a year and gave it a chickenish nickname like Cluck it won’t. If you love someone, you are always joined with them – in their joy, in their strife, in their stinginess or in their magnanimity.
Gifts should not taken on their face value. Rather, they should be gauged on the giver’s level of sacrifice. When boda guy who earns Ksh 500 per day forgoes his daily jug of keg for a week and buys her wife a kitenge and matching kamithi,that sacrifice is bigger than a million cheque one. When a Murang’a man foregoes his monthly savings meant to buy a plot at Kenol and takes his wife to a smoky joint for choma and some Mugithi, that’s a huge sacrifice.
The Bible, a book that I hold in high esteem for its enduring moral lessons, has a say on this. It’s contained in that story of that widow who tithed all that she had. She was said to have given more than the mabwanyenye who gave gold coins because of her sacrifice.
The Gift of the Magi-a timeless short story written in the 1920s, captures this aptly too. It tells of a modest couple that was deeply in love .Each wanted to give the best he or she could to the other.
The wife wanted to give his husband a gold chain to hang his watch with so that it couldn’t get lost. On the other hand, the husband wanted to gift his wife with a hair clip to hold her beautiful hair together. It turns out that each had no money to buy what they wanted to gift the other.
The lady sold her hair (which was later sold to African women) so that she could purchase the golden chain for his husband’s watch. The husband sold his watch so that he could buy her wife the hair clip to tie her hair together.
When they met at home, each had the other’s gifts yes, but both had no use for the gift since the man had already sold his watch and the woman her hair. However, each had sacrificed the most precious things they had to purchase the gift. But it turns out that anything you lose for love comes back in another form for their love emerged stronger than ever.
The story’s title-The Gift of the Magi-is borrowed from the three wise wazee who came to see baby Jesus after his birth. They didn’t bring him Pampers or mbocoris because it was winter or toys because it was a baby boy. Instead they brought him gold, myrrh and frankincense. These three gifts were informed by wisdom and their value lay not in their commercial worth, but in their timeless symbolism.
And so should gifts couples give to each other.