The other day a dear friend posted the quote: “Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are.”
Since she posted it, I’ve been chanting it over and over. It spoke to me. It’s my motto; it’s who I am. Or at least who I try to be.
I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about others. And it’s not in the “Oh, what does he really think of me?” way, it’s more, “I wonder how he’s doing,” kind of way.
Right now, I’m thinking about the two families that I met for the first time today, but I feel like I’ve known for three months, since I found out their names.
In the beginning, to me, they were a sad story. Wife dumped by husband, left with three kids, sad. Husband works two jobs, wife laid off due to complicated pregnancy, has two kids, sad.
It is sad, yes. But today I saw that they were so much more than that.
I didn’t have enough space in my SUV to bring all the items at once to the two families that we had adopted this year. I put out on Facebook that I could really use a truck and a second pair of hands. What I got was an ambulance and two volunteer firefighters, who are also dear friends of mine. They asked no questions except when and where, and that was it.
It’s amazing, the people we know. How it outstretches into so many different places. Last year, I asked a doctor friend of mine, who I had known since his first year of residency if he knew of any way I could start my idea. But the idea really came from my friend Jessica who had done something similar with a local family in need in Louisiana. My doctor friend knew the nurse manager at the health center, and from there, for two years now, I’ve gotten the names and wish lists of several local families in need of a little extra help.
The people that I know, and they are good people, then bought things without even worrying that I wouldn’t be true to my word. And because of them, five families- 15 people- got a little help.
Fifteen people. Nine of them children.
There’s been a lot of anger happening lately. A lot of sadness and people being divided. For what? Social status? Money? The color of their skin?
Today, seven of us, from all different backgrounds, came together. And while it may have been me and my two friends and the nurse manager handing over items, it was those women who received the gifts today that gave me so much in return. So much.
The boxes of diapers, the winter coats, the little girl’s running shoes, the pots and pans, the new vacuum, those brought a grown woman to tears. I stood there, as she held her beautiful baby boy and she said, “I don’t even know where to begin. I have been trying to find a new job, but when I lost my last job, my income was cut in half. I’m trying, but it’s hard.”
She’s my age. Beautiful. Honest. Deserving.
The pillows, blankets, sheets, coats, boots, hats, and toy after toy kept the other woman from having to default on bills just to give her kids Christmas. She said, “I didn’t know how I was going to give my kids Christmas. It’s not their fault their father walked out. It’s not their fault I can’t buy them things. I didn’t know how to give them Christmas, and here it is. In this room.”
She’s also my age. She works hard, and her mom makes sure she’s at home so she can help with the kids. When I told her that I couldn’t get the kids the DSI they wanted, but I did manage to get them a 3DS, she hugged me again, and gave me a high five when I told her that there was seven games wrapped up to go along with it.
Everyone deserves Christmas.
I’m sitting here in my living room, and all I can hear is the dryer running and the dogs snoring. I’m writing to the soft glow of my Christmas lights and I’m elated. I can’t even begin to explain what today meant for me. I was so thankful that two of my friends could come along, because maybe they are able to explain it better.
As Ron said, “How can you even do anything else today? We’ve hit top shelf. Nothing is better than this feeling.”
I’m one person. There’s no way I could have done this alone. But I know a lot of good people. And when one person has an idea, and a lot of good people back them up, amazing things happen.
Amazing things happened. And I can’t even begin to thank you all again for making it happen.
Until next year.