One year as the December holiday season approached, life gave me a precious experience in giving. One of the very last things I’d bought for my father the previous year was a Christmas tree. He’d been struggling to make peace with entering assisted-living care as he also entered the final months of his life. I was feverishly trying to create Christmas around him – in fast-forward — while my heart seemed to be simultaneously breaking in half.
My daughter helped me find an artificial tree, the very last one the store had, with twinkling tiny lights already attached. After my father died the following June, that tree and the box it came in got stockpiled, along with many other things I wasn’t ready to face quite yet. Finally, as the next Christmas neared, I knew it was time to pack it up, along with other things I needed to bring to the thrift shop. But it was very, very hard to think about taking it there.
The following day, I drove a car packed to the gunwales to the local secondhand thrift store, feeling the weight of the grief and sadness that had been stirred by sorting through so many of my father’s things.
Then as I was unpacking the tree from my car, they magically appeared — a kind-faced young man with his little girl clutching his hand. They came up to me tentatively and asked very politely whether, if I planned to leave the tree there anyway, it might be OK for them to take it.
I hugged them both spontaneously then said that, of COURSE, I knew that it would delight my father if they were to have it, and I hoped that they were going to have an absolutely wonderful Christmas. The best they’d ever had.
Then I noticed the woman who was with them, standing off to the side. I was thinking that they all must think me crazy when she gave me a warm smile and thanked me, and then the other two, still a bit stunned by my response, began thanking me, as well. Her smile reminded me of my mother’s, I have to say.
In a little book called “The Hidden Words,” Baha’u’llah says of divine design, “To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine.”
What a gift it is to us when life allows our giving to be the precise answer to someone’s need.
From Life at First Sight: Finding the Divine in the Details
Through Dec. 18, 2015 – Enter to win the trees pictured above and a signed copy of the book by sending an email to email@example.com with “Trees” in the subject line.
See more of Diane Kirkup’s work at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/dkirkupdesigns