Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Comfort and Joy

I finally got onto Blogger again! Yay!

Has it really been almost six months since my last post? Wow. I've been writing still, hoping for the day that I could post something, anything on here again. So you will have to excuse the lateness of some of the posts, one was written around Christmas, the other around Valentine's Day. I have missed posting but I've still been reading my favorites, so I don't feel completely out of the loop.

(Oh, and I ended up keeping the stroller, but I still spoke to my doctor. Turns out that I'm "normal"...)

This next post was written around the holidays, but I think the message still remains timeless. We should all practice gratitude, regardless of the season...

Her hands trembled as she cautiously opened the bag. Nothing was wrapped, but that was OK. She had not asked for much. She hadn’t asked for anything really, as she had learned long ago that with expectation also came disappointment. Already overwhelmed by this unexpected show of generosity from those she did not know, she was close to tears and holding her breath when she was handed the simple plastic bag.

“Ohhh!” was all she could whisper as she pulled a small pair of brand new winter boots from the bag. “Oh he’ll be so warm in these! And they’re so nice!” The tears spilled over as she was handed yet another bag, this one containing a new pair of pants and a cozy fleece sweater in the exact size that her young son wore.

Smiling gratefully through her tears, she found her voice once more. “I really didn’t expect anything…” she began, looking down at the new boots once again, and then at the large box of groceries that sat by her feet, so thankful for the kindness of strangers.

Her son would be warm this winter. There was food to put in the cupboards. It’s been difficult lately, but this… this would help make it easier. That was all that mattered to her. Her son’s comfort was more important than the fact that she wished she could provide all this for him on her own. She knew she was doing her best with the resources she had, and she had tried to make her peace with this. Pride had no place in this home, where love was abundant even if the money wasn’t.

When you are rushing around this season, stressing about what you “need” to get and trying to find that “perfect gift”, take a moment to reflect on where you are in your life right now. Has it always been easy for you? Have you ever been grateful for the kindness of strangers? In the end, is it really going to matter what label your jacket had on it, or what that must have trendy toy was? Remind yourself that the simple things, the basic things, are the things that are most important – love, comfort and joy.

The joy to be found in the simple act of giving to those less fortunate is profound. It reminds us to be appreciative of the things we have, and can humble us when we have been taking what we consider “basic comforts” for granted. It can allow for a new perspective on the life we have now, guide us towards the simpler life we want to live, and help us to re-organize our priorities. The practice of giving – this in itself is a gift for our own soul, but when we can provide this comfort to families who must otherwise do without, the joy will follow.