The Best Thing to Give

Yesterday was one of those days. It started with my son missing the morning school bus. Then the food delivery was late at school causing mayhem to try and get all the lunch orders sorted before the kids came rushing into the cafeteria with hungry eyes!

After lunch duty I had much to do including buying my oldest son a few last minute gifts (turns out the stuff I originally ordered him would not arrive until mid January!!!!).

After running my errands (including visiting two different supermarkets), and cooking dinner, I settled in to make desserts for a holiday party we are hosting on the weekend. The rice pudding was cooking on the stove and I began cracking eggs for the pistachio bundt cake. I continued adding all the required ingredients, and then realized I had bought the wrong pudding mix! Uggh! I quickly put my boots back on, threw on my coat, grabbed my bag and headed back to the supermarket (for the third time that day).

I found the right mix and then picked up some extra flour, butter and canola spray. Seriously, have you ever gone into a supermarket and only bought what you went there for? Or is that just an overshopper problem?

Anyway, I went to the self checkout station, scanned and bagged everything and then began the payment process. That’s when I found out that my wallet was not in my purse (I had taken it out to pay the piano teacher earlier) nor had I grabbed my phone before I left the house. I had that immediate feeling of dread, anger, and embarrassment all rolled into one. What would I do? Luckily, I realized I was wearing my apple watch, and was able to text one of my sons (the most reliable one) and ask him to come to the supermarket with my wallet. It could have been worse…at least I wasn’t holding up a line of people behind me.

When I got home I felt drained, but still had to finish the desserts, clean the kitchen, and a slew of other things. All I really wanted to do was sit on the sofa and watch a Christmas movie, but even if I had the time I couldn’t because the tv’s in our house are not working right now (all I know is that something important broke).

The holiday stress which I had been successfully avoiding up until that moment began rising within me. So I sat (for just a minute) and glanced around me. I had a beautiful home with my family all together, and a house full of love. Not much else really mattered. I began thinking of all the people who are not having such a “merry” time of year. There are so many (too many) others out there having a much, much worse day than me. I was so focused on my own bad day (what I wanted…what I was feeling), that I never stopped to think of all those around me. How could I help others?

At this time of year, the best gift we can give to others is the gift of love. Not just our close family and friends (it’s easy to love them), but also every person you encounter and even those you may never meet. We can help others through our local outreach programs, donating food and clothing and also donating coats to the many coat drives being held.

I was at Target a few weeks back and the checkout line I had chosen stopped moving. Frustrated, I looked to the front of the line to see that a woman was having trouble…turns out her card had been denied. She seemed very distressed, and then the lady behind her stepped forward and said “I will pay for it”. At that moment, I had wished I hadn’t been so frustrated and focused on why the line wasn’t moving. Perhaps then I would have noticed sooner what was going on and could have helped the woman. But nonetheless I learned two lessons that day. First, I needed to be more aware and mindful of others around me, even when I am in a rush, and secondly that there are kind, loving people in the world.

It isn’t just money that we can give in order to spread love. We can be kind to others, patient, forgiving. We can pause to let other cars in on the road, hold doors open for people, compliment someone. We can also pray for those in need...near and far.

We can look people in the eye and smile and genuinely mean it when we say “Have a great day”. Let’s try to push aside our hustle and bustle, our stresses, and our concerns about getting it all done. Let’s make room to spread joy and love to everyone we pass in any way we can.

Instead of overstressing and overshopping, let’s become overloving.

This will be my last post until after Christmas and possibly my last post of 2018. I will be vacationing with my family and some close friends next week and am going to take some time off from blogging so I can fully enjoy our time away. I wish you all a wonderful holiday and am so grateful that you are sharing this journey with me. I’m excited for 2019 and have a few ideas percolating in my brain on what I want to write about and also some changes for the blog.

In case you were wondering…I decided to keep the coats. They fit well, looked nice, the quality was great and well…keeping them felt right. I will be discussing this whole outerwear episode with my therapist after my vacation, and will likely gain some new perspective at that time. I certainly still have plenty of work to continue in the new year!

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