Simple gifts and two remarkable women

Yesterday I took myself out for a little Christmas shopping.  The Friday before Christmas.  I just had one last person to buy for, but he’s an important one.  Yes.  The husband.

Every year we say “no gifts for each other” and without fail he breaks that rule and I feel like the ungrateful wife that I really kind of am.  So yesterday  in a remarkable act of advance preparation, I took myself out shopping for him.

Shopping on an average day any day of the year is not my cup of tea.  Online shopping was designed for sloths and introverts like me.  But, alas, I waited too late for an order to arrive in time.  So I took a deep breath, prayed a little prayer for strength and headed out.

The stores were insanely busy but as it turned out within five minutes of entering the store I found exactly what Mr. Impossible to Shop For might like.  Picked up a few other items and headed to the check out.

Of course, check out lines are the bane of my existence.  I’m more the click “add to cart” “place order” type of chick.   A click chick, if you will.  But there I was, calmly making my way through the hoards of other shoppers to the check out line.

While waiting in line, two women behind me struck up a conversation with me about one of the items in my cart.  “How does that work?”  Of course I didn’t have an answer, I’m no genius.  But it started a fun friendly entertaining visit.  Something you don’t always find at Christmas time.  (how WRONG is that??)

After a bit, the woman standing in front of us in the line began rummaging through her purse.  She pulled three items out and handed them to me and the two women I’d been chatting with.  She gave each of us one of these:

I asked “Did you make these? They’re beautiful” Her hands were a little shaky and she struggled a bit with speech. She said “Oh good grief, no, I just colored them.” She explained to us that she’d spent quite some time recently in a stroke rehab unit. Adult coloring books were part of her occupational therapy. “What am I going to do with 100 or so pages of coloring?” So she decided to make little bookmarks and put them in her purse to give out randomly.

I couldn’t stop thinking about this woman, imagining what she’d been through. She’d suffered a stroke, her speech was affected, she moved with some difficulty. And there she was, gift shopping in a crowded store on the Friday before Christmas. Thinking of others. Taking her mind off of her own problems and reaching out with a simple gift to three women she’d never met before.

************************

Shortly after Thanksgiving the hubby and I went to visit my sister Sharon at the group home where she lives. I’ve written about her often. Her health is deteriorating and she’s at the point where her voice is so raspy you usually can’t understand her speech at all. She’s unable to swallow food unless it’s pureed. Even her water needs to be a certain consistency. Her gait is very unsteady and she falls frequently, even with her walker.

On this particular day she was doing pretty good verbally and she asked us if we could stay and play a card game with her. So we did. Skip-bo was her game of choice that day. The three of us laughed and visited and enjoyed the game.

During the course of our visit DeWayne asked her how her Thanksgiving was there at the home. I kind of braced myself for her answer. She was not with any family on Thanksgiving for the first time. She can’t eat regular food. How do you think her Thanksgiving was, why did you ask her that?

Her answer? “It was good”. DeWayne asked if the staff prepared a turkey meal for them and she said “yes.” I asked “How did that work? Were you able to eat any of it?” She said, “Oh yes, it was delicious.” They pureed the Thanksgiving meal. She called it delicious. She was happy.

Pureed food. Away from her family. Happy. I believe there’s a lesson here that I need to learn from my simple sister Sharon, who has oh so many reasons to complain. But doesn’t.

It feels like God visited me through two angels. It feels like God was reaching out to me.

Like the scripture on the pictured bookmark says “He refreshes my soul”. A gift we all need. In the midst of a world that seems to have totally lost its way, He brings refreshment to our souls. But only if we open our eyes and ears.

Don’t miss the gift of Jesus, the refreshing gift of hope and love, while you’re reading the latest news. Or maxing out your credit card to buy just the right gift. Or fighting loneliness because you’re missing a loved one.

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father. The best gift ever.

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