Giving and Receiving

by Florence Ondré

I’m grateful for a time when I didn’t feel much gratitude at all.
That may sound odd and yet it’s true.

Looking back to when times were particularly challenging; seeming like the bottomless pit of despair swallowed me whole, I can see not only how difficult it was to put one foot in front of the other but how the mere basic of breathing was an act of courage.

What I also see is where humility and acceptance of help from others was a large part of the lesson of beingfor me to work through.

In years of days of being ill with Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome; so flat-out exhausted from even a whispered thought of putting foot to floor to balance bed encompassment; where holidays were a mere memory of musings from another world beyond aching joints and muscles, swollen glands, constant low grade fevers and inability to speak or act without wishing I had enough energy to scream at the injustice of the ravaging disease, one special day stands out.

When my resources of body, mind, spirit and finances were at lowest ebb; with the holiday a mere day away and no route seen wherein I could have anything for my kids, there came a knock at my door.

Taking my then usual God-knows-how-long to get out of bed, shuffle down the hall and open it, I found no one in sight of the portal. Neither left nor right glances showed anything but a quiet street; deserted of traffic, foot or vehicle.

However, when I tried to open my door for a better look-see, it was stopped mid way by a big box.

I looked into it and there, appearing like magic; staring up at me, was a big turkey, complete with all the fixings for a holiday meal!

Amazing!

Because of the kindess of strangers anonymously acting on their hearts’ energy, there would be a holiday for my kids and I that year where there would otherwise have been none.

It is miracle I have never forgotten and still treasure in my heart and mind each year.

Checking in with my boys, now grown with families of their own, we discuss that gift giving which enriched our lives and we all agree what a God-send it was.

We never found out who did that incredibly good deed, yet the threads of that experience are woven in the tapestry of our hearts and memories. We also can still feel the warmth of that unconditional open-heartedness and are grateful there was the kindness of strangers who saw and acted on our behalf; who gave us the sustenance, happiness and gratitude in the holidays.

To those dear ones wherever you are, we sing thank you.

Because of you, we had light in the darkness and to this day, remember the gift which keeps on giving. We find our own ways to follow your example and pay it forward, backwards and sideways where we can. We are grateful to be the ripples from your pebble in our pond and hope what small help we can be in the world will be a bridge for others out of their dark moments into lighter days.

We know there is light not only at the end of the tunnel…it sometimes is in lanterns of generosity along the way.

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