The Gift of Perspective
I received this gift email from Laurie Brusati (content below) which puts the holiday season in perspective. It’s focused on Christmas and Santa Clause, but the underlying message applies to whatever Holy Day you observe.
I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma.I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even dummies know that!” My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me.Grandma was home, and between bites of her world-famous cinnamon buns, I told her everything. She was ready for me.”No Santa Claus?” she snorted….”Ridiculous! Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”She drove me to Kerby’s General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. “Take this money,” she said, “and buy something for someone who needs it. I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.I was only eight years old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.I thought of everybody I knew. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock’s grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn’t have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough; he didn’t have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that.”Is this a Christmas present for someone?” the lady behind the counter asked as I laid my ten dollars down. “Yes, ma’am,” I replied. “It’s for Bobby.” She smiled as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn’t get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa Claus” on it. Grandma said that Santa always insisted on secrecy. Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa’s helpers.Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. “All right, Santa’s Helper,” she whispered, “get going.”I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma.Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.
– – – – – –Fifty years haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were — ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95.May you always have LOVE to share,HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care…And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…. It’s learning to dance in the rain!