Friday, December 30, 2011


We're not that far removed from Christmas that we shouldn't take away something from the Holiday.  Something that will make us a better person, a more tolerant one or maybe just one with a little more compassion. 

I was struck by our friend PV2 Pete's assertion of people not coming to his aid this Christmas in the way of a care package or money.  If you recall, he was rather miffed no one had "given" to him.  By his account, it was all to real to see that he could use some help. 

A good web friend, Rick Nielsen, shared a story with me the other day.  One that sure impacted me.  I thought of the times I've stuck my hand out to someone....and how little acts can make such a BIG difference in the lives you encounter.  Here is Rick's example.... 

Two weeks before Christmas a nine-year-old girl was walking and sliding down the street with her friend.  The two of them were talking about what they hoped to get for Christmas. They stopped to talk to an old man named Harry.  He was on his knees pulling weeds from around a large oak tree.  Harry wore a frayed, woolen jacket and a pair of worn garden gloves.  

There are a many, many Harry's among us.....

As Harry responded to the girls, he told them he was getting the yard in shape as a Christmas present for his mother, who had passed away several years before. His eyes brimmed with tears as he patted the old oak.  "My mother was all I had.  She loved her yard and her trees, so I do this for her at Christmas."   His words touched the girls and soon they were down on their hands and knees helping him weed around the trees.  It took the three of them the rest of the day to complete the task. When they finished, Harry gave each of the girls a quarter.  "I wish I could pay you more,"  he said.  "But it's all I've got right now."

The girls had often passed that way before and as they walked on they remembered that the house was shabby, with no wreath, no Christmas tree or other decorations to add cheeriness.  There always was just the lonely figure of Harry sitting by his curtain less window. The quarter seemed to burn a hole of guilt in the one little girl's mind as they returned to their homes.  The next day she called her friend and they agreed to put their quarters in a jar marked "Harry's Christmas Present."  They began to seek out small jobs to earn more.  Every nickel, dime, and quarter they earned went into the jar. 

Two days before Christmas, they had enough money to buy new gloves and a Christmas card for Harry.  Christmas Eve found them singing carols on Harry's doorstep. When he opened the door, they gave him the gloves, wrapped in pretty paper, the card, and a pumpkin pie still warm from the oven. With trembling hands, Harry tore the paper from the gloves.  Then to their astonishment, he held them to his face and wept.

One little act of kindness went a long way for those two little girls.  Think they won't grow up with a tremendous gift of giving?  Who will be your Harry next Christmas?  Is it that grumpy neighbor of yours that you have trouble connecting with?  Or is it that little old lady you see at the mall walking ever so slow, almost aimlessly?   Stop and think.  This would be a good time to look around....



No comments:

Post a Comment