Sunday, December 14, 2014

To Quote Tiny Time

 Sharing my Neff Road blog:

The woman asked if we had any bells. She was taking her grandchildren on The Polar Express that runs along Mt. Hood and wanted to give them each a bell. Well, Hallmark did a good thing in making a Polar Express bell. She took four. I made sure that she knew the price. It was no small gift. She touched my arm and said with tears in her eyes, "This is important. Today is the anniversary of my mother's death. I want these children to remember me and these moments. I can't give them her, but I can give them me." I gave her a hug and told her that tomorrow (December 14) was the anniversary of my mother's passing. A bond. Children of another generation realizing the importance of being grandparents. Children missing their own parents, knowing the gift we can is in the memories we make.

The man stood at the ornament wall.  Being my usual nosy self, I asked if I could help him. He was looking for an ornament for a dog. They had just lost their family pet. I asked if he was doing okay. With tears in his eyes, he said, "No. I lost my mother in October and my father in November. Now this." "Do you mind if I give you a hug?" I asked. I hugged his tall frame and his body shook with sorrow.

I wondered if perhaps there was a reason that Mom left us in December. She was the spirit of Christmas to me. She opened her arms to all with a loving embrace.  I know I sometimes resented never having Mom and Dad to myself. I was young and did not fully understand the meaning of living a life in Christ. I never knew my parents to be selfish. I never saw them turn anyone away. They always managed to feed whoever came through the door. Love was abundant in our home. My parents never complained. They led by example.

I remember standing in the large window in our house in Wisconsin. The snow fell in large, silent flakes. Already the ground was covered with many inches of snow. White. The white you dream of as a child, waiting for Santa to visit. I looked up into the winter sky and thought to myself, "I wish you were up there, Santa." I was far away from Neff Road. I missed those cold winter days before the fireplace, roasting hot dogs and visiting with old friends and neighbors. I wanted Santa to come to take us back to Christmases before.

I do not live in that house back the lane on Neff Road any more, but the lessons I learned have followed me throughout my life. We are all given opportunities to love and to be loved. We are placed in situations that call for compassion, forgiveness and selflessness. To be aware of others is to be blessed. The gift of Christmas.

We don't have much snow here in Oregon, but I know that up in that evening sky hopes of young children will fly. Parents will embrace the delight in giving. And hopefully, each person will seek peace and love for everyone they meet. To quote Tiny Tim, "God bless us every one."

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