Dateline: Dec 22 2001
RedPhoenix, one of our Holistic Healing Chatroom Hosts, lost her parents this year. She is experiencing sadness as the holiday approaches because she will not be sharing Christmas with them. She wrote this inspiring letter in tribute to their lives. When I asked Red's permission to share her letter she agreed saying "It would make my parents smile to know that they somehow brought the meaning of Christmas to others."
'Tis a dismal Christmas and though I have not much to give this year, I realize that it is the gifts from the heart that are most cherished. Actually, they portray the true spirit of Christmas and the blessed spark that created all the gift giving mania that has become the hustle and bustle of today's holiday season.
Holli-daze - I coined the phrase to each frenzied shopper crowding, each rude driver lane surfing, and each frantic mother trying to show their children just how much they loved them.
I grew up poor. I didn't realize I was poor because I was so loved. My mother quilted me a blanket to keep me warm as a child and my father climbed the perfect oak tree to hang us a knotted rope to swing from.
Father would disappear many mornings while mother fed us warm cornbread or biscuits. I thought he didn't like mamma's cooking perhaps. I found out many years later, that he was on a mission. He made trips to share a plate of food or leave an anonymous package of second hand clothes, which was always in good repair by my mother's hands.
I went with him when I was older; I watched him tie a note to a well-bagged bundle of clothing we had outgrown on the edge of the roadside one dark Christmas morning. I am unsure of what it said, but I know he took a long time pondering his written words. Mother had ironed each piece and placed them neatly in a pillowcase before we left.
I asked him why he just didn't walk up and give the people the clothes instead of having to worry about if the raccoons were going to end up wearing them.
He told me that people have pride. I looked blankly I am sure for I was quite confused.
He said "Pride can keep us from accepting what is given to our hearts. Pride is not a bad thing my daughter for it is also the very thing that keeps us honest and hardworking." I was only 7 yrs old that day, so I gave him another blank look I am sure.
He gave me a hug and a warm biscuit from his pocket and softly chuckled to me, "Besides, surprises and found treasures are much more fun aren't they?" This I understood and happily followed him with his mysterious rounds as the invisible Santa's helper. Sometimes the treasure was clothing, sometimes patchwork quilts, a mess of bass, canned tomatoes or some repaired and painted toys.
My favorite gift given was when he hung another rope swing in a tree for the new man down the road. He had "too many children for him to keep up with" my dad said. This man's wife was sickly and he needed something to occupy the boys.
I always kept my father's secret for him and I came to understand his words about pride. Mamma was always waiting at home for us with a cup of hot something to drink or eat. She loved Christmas time and hummed carols as she worked about the home. I remember painting bottle caps with her for our tree ornaments one year. They were so pretty.
Even in my adult years, I accompanied my father on occasion. Times were better but he remained invisible to the world as he waited for the family to leave their home so he could sneak unseen to their property to place a food gift card on the door. The gifts remained always anonymous and were always given with love. This is why I am compelled to write this letter. It is the giving, sharing and caring between people outside their immediate family that brings the greatest gift. It is unlimited in possibilities and unbound by personal status or financial wealth.
This is a dismal Christmas and this is my gift to you. It is a blessing returned, in words of thanks and of a true story told in the sharing of my spirit's light. My parents will not be with me this Christmas and I will miss the hugs and the cherished "I love you's" spoken. But I have them still in my heart. I had great parents and I wanted to share them with you as well.
Merry Christmas and Merry Yule Season,