At this time of year, almost everybody is busy shopping and preparing for Christmas. We were very busy this week, too, but things are different for us this year.
For the last nine days, we’ve been taking care of our friend Chuck, who had major surgery and stayed at our home while recovering. I spent a day with my dear friend who has been such an inspiration to me over the years. My daughter Ali and grandson, Anthony, came to our house, and Ali cooked a wonderful meal that we all enjoyed together. On three days, I helped another friend prepare her home for the holidays and for her family’s visit.
I also took some items to a 4-year-old little girl who is living with her mother in a shelter, hoping to brighten her day. This beautiful child’s mother was shot on the side of her face by her husband in front of their daughter. The mother is recovering and thankful to be alive, but she has no family in this country, so she and her daughter are staying at the shelter until she is able to return to her family abroad.
Wanting to give the mother some inspiration that she can and will come out of her difficult situation, I shared my story of when I was attacked and stabbed 21 times in the presence of my two young sons. I hope that our visit gave her some small strength to carry on, to keep fighting and praying, and to never give up.
The mother told me she is very sad because she was unable to return to work after being shot and now cannot give her little girl a Christmas tree with presents under it in their own home. I talked with her about what is most important, that she is alive, that her child still has her mother, she has her daughter, and they are together. I told her that I wasn’t going to have a Christmas tree or give gifts this year, either, because what I had was stolen from me.
Because of that theft, Ronnie and I decided not to have a Christmas tree or any gifts this year.
Usually, Ronnie and I have a gorgeously decorated Christmas tree with lots of expensive, beautifully wrapped gifts stacked all around it, and our home is decked out with all the trimmings. I have always gone all out on Christmas and made sure everyone got the gifts they’d asked for and more. But the Grinch came and took that away. It does seem a bit strange because I have always enjoyed seeing the happy faces when the kids and friends opened their gift to find the exact item they’d wanted, which we sometimes searched for weeks to find.
However, a close friend of mine recently reminded me that Christmas is supposed to be about loving, caring, and respecting one another and spending time with loved ones all year round. Christmas is not about just one day of gift giving.
Ronnie and I have decided to spend Christmas with friends. After all the hoopla of Christmas is over, we will take a mini-vacation and ring in the New Year with friends, away from the chaos. The trip is booked, and we are looking forward to getting away, relaxing and laughing, and welcoming in a New Year that, hopefully, is filled with peace, love, comfort, and joy.