I hope you had a very nice Christmas. I was feeling a bit discouraged myself, and on Christmas Eve I found myself in Shreveport trying to figure out where to go, what to do. Since my Mom and brother died, I always feel sort of alone during the holidays. I know that its supposed to be a time of good cheer, but the past few years I've been subject to the blues.
After I delivered a car, I walked a few blocks to the city bus and waited on a bench. I thought perhaps I'd go catch a train and head to Dallas. There was an elderly lady sitting next to me on the bench who appeared to be poor and homeless. She began to talk to me, and I immediately thought this was another one of Bill's people. But as I listened, I realized that she was something else altogether.
Her name was Mary, and my mind drifted to another Mary I had met not too long ago. Only that Mary was accusing her car of stealing from her. This woman had some heart-wrenching stories to tell that really touched my heart. She had been through hell, and now was abandoned by all those she used to know and love. The tales of her life painted a vivid picture of a woman who had faced huge obstacles bravely and courageously. I was mightily impressed, and wanted to hear more. And she was happy to oblige.
The more I listened, the more I considered how my own troubles were tiny and pathetic compared to her life. And I thought about people all over the world who go without, and who many never know the joys of Christmas. The mistletoe, the Christmas tree, singing carols, giving gifts to those you love, Santa Claus, the baby Jesus. All of the things that used to make me an excited little boy each and every Christmas of my childhood. I had been so caught up with my own trivial problems that I forgot just how good I have it.
I offered to buy Mary a Christmas dinner at a nearby Diner, but she declined. She was a proud woman and said she could not accept any kind of charity. Before I left her, I was able to distract her long enough to slip a 20 dollar bill into her coat pocket. I knew she would find it later when she stuck her hands into her pocket, and I sincerely hoped that it might help her out just a little bit. Giving to others is what its all about.