Thankful for the opportunity to servePosted: 2011/12/19
Tonight I accomplished my favorite elf job of the season. My neighbor and friend Blondie and I delivered the two van loads of items for the family our neighborhood adopted for Christmas. Every year for the last several the women of our hood band together and adopt a family from a charity and give them Christmas. We live in what others would call an affluent area, but I can tell you we are more like the 99% than the 1. We all have our own set of struggles. No matter, each year we come out in full force and give. I am the main organizer and planner of this yearly drive. I have plenty of help but every year I worry we won’t be able to meet our commitment , and this is silly because every year we more than meet it. Blondie and I make the annual drop off together, and every year it is the best thing I do all year. These families we choose to serve all are living on various versions of basically nothing, yet they always ask for very very little. It is only through my nosy busy body prodding that I find all of the ways the really are in need. One year we gathered and delivered beds and bedding because Mom and 2 of the kids were sleeping in the one bed, the boy was sleeping on the floor. This year we delivered diapers and other needed items on top of the one van full of wrapped presents for the entire family. Even though they only asked for items for the kids.
I know that this time of year a lot of kind , polite people dig into their own pockets of money and time and replicate this same act over and over across our city. A few days ago I was shopping in Walmart to pick up a few items for the family, I’d sold a game I got for a European friend, it sat in customs for a year and came back to me. State foods said to keep it and use it for whatever I liked. So I had The Husband sell it on Ebay and I was using my game $$ to buy more things for the family. It was in one of those toy aisles at Walmart that I got really pissed off. I’m not going to lie, there are MANY times during the Holidays that I get pissed off. I get pissed off at the commercialism of it all. I get pissed off that it seems this Holiday often exists to force more chaos, time suck and money suck into what is already a chaotic life. I get pissed off that it seems the whole reason for the season is so the retail industry can make more $$, while I perpetuate the you have to be good for Santa lie to my kids. Shouldn’t they simply behave because, well, that is what they are supposed to do anyway? Shouldn’t we keep this holiday as simple as possible and make it about spending time with the ones we love. But then I sometimes even get pissed off at that because shouldn’t we choose to spend time with the ones we love all the time, not just at Christmas? My response to extremely being overwhelmed is to break down and cry. I have at least one major crying breakdown every Holiday Season.
I get pissed because I feel like lots of people turn into absolute assholes from the stress of making Christmas happen. On this particular morning I was pissed because I witnessed the following. An older lady, yes dear young Lovies I know I am old, this lady had about 20 years on me. She was dressed up and carrying around her very big very designer purse and she made this phone call.
Hi, what would a 15 year want? Her tone is pleasant enough, I think, Oh she is doing charity shopping too, good for her. Yes, I’m judging you in the Walmart if you feel the need to have your conversation in front of me.
The conversation goes on and the tone is changing, then with almost a sneer she says this as she sort of wanders up and down the aisle is hurry just kind of looking at things.
Like if you were really really ( there is no font for the sneer tone in her voice) poor what would you want? Maybe a game or something, checkers or chess? I want to smack her and scream at her at the same time. Checkers? Chess? Really?????? I want to scream at her that he wants a MP3 player or maybe a video game if he has something to play one on. He is 15, he wants the SAME THING all other 15 year olds want. His wants are not different because he is really really poor. He isn’t automatically really really poor because his family needs help making Christmas this year. He deserves more than a hurried trip to Walmart and a snotty phone call to your present advisor and that I’m too busy for this shit tone in your voice and air about you. Guess what you stupid bitch, we are ALL TOO BUSY FOR THIS SHIT! This is why our stupid elf on the shelf Carlos only moves about every other day. If I hadn’t been so pissed I would of just nicely told her, I bet he’d like an MP3 player, I’m not afraid to be the crazy lady that talk to strangers in the store. But my mouth was on the floor and I knew if I closed it again to speak it wasn’t going to be pretty, and even I am not willing to be THAT crazy lady that talks to strangers in a store. So I got what I needed and left her general vicinity shaking my head. Those are the kind of people that make the rest of us look bad to those we choose to serve, and I hope they are the 1% and not the 99.
Every year when we arrive we find the nicest people. Kind people, polite people, grateful people. They live no differently than the rest of us, making do with what they have, the best they can because in life you have no choice but to fight if you want to thrive. They aren’t different because they are really really poor. The family that got beds didn’t ask for them, they didn’t assume we would be solving more issues for them beyond the basic needs of a few presents for Christmas, some warm winter outerwear, and some money for food. They are often really really struggling, sometimes they have been challenged with health problems or job problems. It doesn’t really matter though does it, because they deserve to have the peace of mind that on Christmas morning their kids will have smiles on their faces, they deserve the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their kids are going to have something for Christmas. They deserve the same peace, love and joy we all seek this time of year. I’m not sure what this lady thinks really really poor people look or live like, but she certainly hasn’t encountered the clean house, clean kids with joyful parents the Blondie and I have had the pleasure of meeting in our three years of drop off to the Christmas families.
This year’s family was no different, they asked for so little, every year these families ask so SO LITTLE. Every I get the biggest boost of Christmas spirit from participating in the service our neighborhood gives. One of the five love languages is acts of service, it is in acts of service to my Family that I can show them how much I love them. It is in acts of service to others that I can rediscover the joy in this chaotic life of my own. I am thankful for the ability to provide this joy, and I am thankful for the ladies in my neighborhood that choose to help me in this endeavor. And I am truly thankful for the opportunity to serve.
Tonight marked my last Christmas obligation. My shopping is done, the presents are wrapped and under the tree, the stockings are stuffed and ready to come upstairs on Christmas Eve. The menu is planned, my dining room and foyer are emptied of other people’s stuff. I can concentrate on enjoying the rest of the season, chaos and all.