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OFF THE RAILS - Take a breath, remember why

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Posted: Sunday, December 3, 2017 11:37 am

Have you ever been so involved in the minutiae that you forget the big picture? A definite case of missing the forest for the trees? This happened to me last week and I have to admit it was not one of my most shining moments.

My son, bless him, has a true servant’s heart – at Christmas, especially, but definitely all year – and is always the first to suggest a variety of charitable organizations that need assistance. When he was much younger, and considerably shorter than he is now, we needed coins for every little red bucket and bell we passed during the holidays. He didn’t care how many or how much they were worth, so long as he could “give the bucket money” each time he saw one.

This year, his school participated in Operation Christmas Child – a wonderful program that provides a shoebox of goodies to children throughout the world who may not otherwise receive anything. My son, as always, was determined to help as many as he could and we set out to fill three shoeboxes with items for these unnamed and unknown children.

We went to Target. We went to Wal-Mart. We hit all the stores that you can name and that is when I lost the spirit of Christmas and showed my Grinch-like heart. I forgot why we were doing all of this shopping and started to get frustrated on the time it was taking. I, like many other working mothers, have very little “personal” time and I became stressed that this “shopping trip” was taking too long and became cranky.

I ranted a bit. I raved a bit. I commented that I would rather give my money to the school to buy what they needed, rather than my time. Then, I caught sight of my son’s face. He was disappointed. Trust me when I tell you that nothing makes you feel so low as to see disappointment in the eyes of your 15-year-old.

I took a step back and I looked at what we were buying. We weren’t buying fancy electronics or the newest, hippest toy. We were buying toothbrushes, socks, simple yo-yo’s and cleansing wipes. We were buying items that we take for granted here in America and I was being a Grinch of the first-order. Worse, I was being a spoiled-brat.

My eyes filled with tears and I apologized to my son, my husband and then I asked God to help me not forget the reason for charity. It was not my best moment, but I think it needs to be shared. During the holiday season, we often get caught up in the buying, the shopping, the money and the stress that comes with it.

I beg you to not do as I did and rant. Instead stop, take a breath and be thankful for what you have and look for ways to help your neighbors who are less fortunate. Sometimes it is as simple as a toothbrush or a coat, other times a friend or neighbor may need a ride to the doctor or help fixing damage to their home.

There are numerous ways throughout the county that you can help your fellow man. Start with your local food pantry, donate coats and blankets to the Grimes Health Resource Center, or better yet, donate your time. In this crazy, fast-paced world sometimes that is the hardest thing to give and the most needed. 

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