The season of giving, receiving and believing.
The season of keeping others in our minds, thoughts, prayers, hearts and digging into pantry cupboards for those cans of baby formula that we didn’t need but someone else will, or the soup and the extra jar of peanut butter, because even though we have needs of our own there is a bin at the grocers that needs filling for the people whose hunger is literal and can’t be filled by iPads under the tree.
Coats and jackets that don’t fit the wiggling limbs and growing midsections of our own kids are removed from plastic bags in the basement and donated to Goodwill for another growing child with growing needs of their own.
For people like me who rummage through their cupboards and add extra canned goods onto the shopping list to donate, or grab an extra pack of mittens or pajamas for the Goodwill drop off when we’re buying our kids theirs, the money is often tight at home too. We are the people who pay it forward when we drop the dollar into the “Charitable Organization Tin” at the cash register even though we’re kind of sweating the Forty Dollars we still have to put in the gas tank. We just feel better giving a five dollar bill to a stranger ringing a bell than we do giving it to Starbucks for Seven Hundred Calories of Diabetic Shock. I think there are a lot of us out there. This season is hard on us too.
The season of spending, charging, over-drafting for merriment and magic making, and trying to pay a mortgage, higher than heaven tuition for preschool and keep food on the table.
This is the season when everyone is looking for their miracle. When we lean on each other to provide the magical acts of kindness that make December the bright spot in a dark winter.
The most remarkable people will have only a quarter in their pockets but they will drop it into the jar for someone else who needs it.
I met my Miracle workers recently. I didn’t see it coming. In a rough year of trying to do everything I can for everyone in my family I was spent dry. It was all for good people and all for good reasons but the sense of justice that beats strong inside of my heart was slowing and becoming duller. I was becoming exhausted trying to extend myself and feeling the need for rehabilitation. The demands of everyone around me having a hard year were ringing loudly in my ears and I was burned.
Until I was rescued from my own ashes in the bed of sorrow that I stuffed for myself.
A group of women that I know almost exclusively through blogging in my online community literally read between the lines of my posts and interpreted rather intelligently that I was in trouble. They secretly rallied behind my back and pulled a crowd funded Christmas Gift together in my honor.
I felt undeserving of such kindness and in truth, taking anyone’s money is incredibly hard for my ego and stubborn pride. When I showed the email I received to my husband he told me to take it, because there was no reason to feel guilty or undeserving of the kindness that others wish for me, especially when I walk around giving myself to others because helping makes me feel whole.
With his blessing and eyes full of tears I was able to buy our kids truly nice Christmas gifts and go grocery shopping without fear of my card declining. Christmas didn’t have to come out of our mortgage. We were able to take a week off from stress and arguing about where the money is going in our household.
I was able to inhale relief and exhale that there is hope for people when they need it, even the people who don’t know how to ask for help. I didn’t even realize how much I needed help until it came. The greatest feeling was in knowing that there were people out there thinking of me and wanting the best for my family, they wanted nothing in return and for that, I owe them every ounce of Joy in my heart. There was no shame in wanting a Christmas, wanting to provide toys for my kids, there was no suggestion that I should spend my money a certain way or somehow do better for myself, but I am learning how to grow into a more financially stable adult with three small kids (and a live-in extended Family Member) and try to use what we have more effectively while still maintaining the integrity of my “givers soul” and making sure that the Christmas Spirit stays alive inside of me for a long and gracious time.
Thank You to these somewhat anonymous Santas, your act of kindness will be remembered until I slip from this Earth.
Small things really do add up to big things.
Happy Holidays to the other Faiths
Happy Belated Chanukah
And Peace on Earth
Let’s eat cookies and fill our hearts with love. Don’t allow yourself to feel ashamed of the holiday you want to create or the holiday you have to create out of what means you have available to you.