By Sue Murphy
I’m hard to shop for. My children have been after me to make an Amazon gift list where they can point-and-click and have the whole thing wrapped and delivered.
The problem is that when I sit down to think about the things that I really, really want, the things that would make a difference in my life going forward, I doubt even Amazon could fill the bill.
What do I want? I want there to be a day when the flag doesn’t have to fly at half-staff over the post office, a day when the sad, crazed person who gets the idea to shoot a bunch of defenseless strangers would somehow have a change of heart. I’d click on that.
I’d like to have a day (two since I’ve been really, really good) when people in positions of power or influence just naturally use that ability, not to divide, not to denigrate, but to lift up the people around them.
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of fear and anger being the coin of the realm. I’d like for the Us vs. Them game to be called on account of darkness, or on account of light, I suppose.
That’s what I really want, with free two-day shipping, please.
There have been some dark days of late, enough to make a sane person despair of where we’re headed, but I’m one of those crazy people who thinks we have the capacity to do better. I keep a quote on my desk that says, “I believe we are all a part of something beautiful, something bigger than ourselves, something deeply, profoundly, surprisingly good.” A bit too Pollyanna? Maybe. I know that the loud, blustering voices would have you believe that every person you come across is secretly out to get you, but I’m here to tell you that there is also covert kindness afoot.
I’ve been going through chemo lately, and the only reason I bring it up is that it speaks to my point. My family and friends have been wonderful, but I knew they would be. What I did not count on was my hair stylist who refused to take payment when I got my pre-bald haircut, the unknown woman in Walmart who asked if she could give me a hug, the sanitation worker who now quietly wheels my empty garbage can back up the driveway. And sure, I know I just look like someone who could use a little help, but the point is, people do it. They have been kind and generous and supportive. It’s been a surprisingly beautiful gift.
This season is all about those kinds of gifts, good things that no one saw coming, freely given even when they weren’t deserved. What better way to honor the miracles we celebrate than to keep moving in that direction?
There may be times when it seems like the world has been reduced to a hopeless pile of rubble, but even if all you have to work with are cast-off pebbles, you can make a difference. One little rock of kindness, one smile, one time you let someone into traffic when they should have gotten in the correct lane a good while back, all these things laid gently upon each other, have to move us in the right direction.
Maybe that’s what we’re supposed to be learning. The really good gifts always come in kit form. We can’t just hope to have a Merry Christmas. We have to be Christmas for each other – one little rock at a time.