a season of giving
this weekend, i went to virginia with salimah to visit my parents and to celebrate salimah's completion of her master's thesis. it was a fun, relatively relaxing trip (other than the fact that i got my first speeding ticket ever on the way down - a SERIOUS bummer). we even got some christmas shopping done while there.
i'll admit, though - i've been feeling a bit bah humbug-ish about this season. everything has just felt so utterly pointless to me lately, it's been hard to take any pleasure in preparing for the holiday.
but then, on saturday afternoon, after running a few errands, we were on our way back to my parents' house when salimah suggested we stop in at the dollar general near their house (we are suckers for discount stores). while in there, i kept walking past some toys and thinking about the little girl for whom my mom had bought a bunch of clothes for christmas. (she's a ward of the state, in foster care, and on her christmas wishlist had asked for clothes....you know it's bad when a child doesn't even request toys.) i kept thinking over and over about the gifts i had bought for other people, and in that moment, the only thing that made any sense to me...that meant anything...was the thought of this child - whom i will never meet - getting to open not only a bunch of really beautiful outfits but some totally fun toys that are ALL HERS. i told salimah my idea, and we were suddenly alive with a fervor i haven't felt in awhile. we scoured the aisles and decided upon a little trio of dolls (multiethnic, no less), all of whom have raincoats, umbrellas, and dogs in rain gear as well. we also got her a mermaid barbie and a little activity/drawing board with markers and crayons and some socks (my mom had been unable to find them when clothes shopping the night before). at the end of it all, i wound up wrapping probably 10 or 15 packages for her to open. i love that. it made me want to do more.
i've reached a point in my life where i don't often feel like i'm making anyone else's existence much better....more than on a personal/relational level anyway....and i'm really tired of that. frankly, the thought of making a child feel loved means so much more to me than doing something for myself or for other people who may or may not like me back. i know this is a strange thing to say, but i'd just really rather be completely selfless (which sounds like a reasonable goal, but i admit that it's not one i often think much about) than anything else right now. i wish i had more to give. i'd like to find the means so that i can start doing just that.
and honestly, if you're reading this out there, please consider buying a toy or some food or some warm clothes for a child who needs it this christmas season. you could change somebody's life. maybe even your own.