The generosity of others

Recently I found out a little something about the spirit of the place I’ve been living for the past nine months.  Having spent almost four years living overseas, living a bit of an unrealistic life, I haven’t had a reason to know what the word ‘recession’ really means.  Now, I know a bit more about what those words mean.

A friend was telling a story about a family she knew from her sons school.  The family had recently seen unspeakable amounts of tragedy, three family members lost in the same month, one of them the father.  As I heard more about this family, now with only a grief stricken mother and a sad and confused small child, I felt an ache begin to grow in my chest.  This family of two struggles through the day, not just with grief, but with putting food on the table and finding a way to hopefully place even a single gift under the tree.

I stood in my fancy kitchen, in my house that’s really far too big, glancing around at all the…stuff we have and it really hit me how lucky I am.  I am lucky.  I am blessed.  We are not worrying how to afford to give our children gifts or about putting food on the table.  I don’t stay up at night wondering what to do when the last dollar is long gone.

I don’t think ‘let me give away everything I own to those less fortunate’.  That’s an unbalanced concept.  But I do think I could give up that fancy coffee this week and eat dinner in one night instead of going out.  I could give even that small amout of money I don’t spend as a gift to a family that really needs it.

In the past five years, we’ve always lived somewhere safe and secure, somewhere warm and comfortable.  It wasn’t until this conversation that I finally understood what recession means, what unemployment means.  When I think of these words, I now picture the faces of my friends, who themselves are facing hardship and have nothing more than a turkey dinner to offer, but do so willingly and happily in order to bring a smile to this small family’s face.

This is Christmas spirit.  This is the generosity of heart and of kindness.  There are so many in this community that need a helping hand.  Along with another friend, we plan to make sure this family can make a sad first Christmas without a loved one, just a little less painful.  A warm dinner on the table, a few gifts under the tree, a warm coat in the extreme cold.

Take five minutes to look around your own home.  Do you have something that could help another family?  Can you spare even $5 to give a child a toy to unwrap?  I encourage all of you to give what you can to a family in need this holiday season. 

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