‘Tis the season of joy, giving and communion; a time for celebration! Time for tinsel and punch, eggnog and such, lights and merry laughter. We gather closer, sit together a little longer and share our life moments with our closest friends. Our hearts are warmed by delightful chatter and empathetic punctuations of sound coming from our companions.
Idyllic, isn’t it? But is this the whole picture? A representation of our entire human collective? Nope.
Some will be sharing this time of peace and joy with cold, empty spaces and tired hearts, worn out hands and deep sadness. Eyes craving compassion and a kind word. Some have spent all year without a human connection, and they no longer believe they are worth anything.
Let me share a story with you that I found on faithit.com that really spoke to me. This particular story unfolded in Reading, PA.
A Secret Santa never rests. Every year this particular anonymous businessman travels hither and thither handing out hundred-dollar bills to random individuals that cross his path. Their reactions are great to watch on video as they look at the money in their hands in disbelief. At one point, this gentleman sat down next to a 30-year-old man and handed him hundred-dollar bills, all the while telling him that he sees a good man, that he earned this. Then he stood up and left.
But that was only the beginning for this young man. Here is his story: A waste of a man, strung out on heroin, a year out of work and no light at the end of the tunnel. The night before he met his Santa, his loyal girlfriend and mother of his child suggested he do something different, something he hasn’t done since childhood: send out a prayer to God. So he sent out a prayer to a God he didn’t believe in. A miracle happened the next day when the kind stranger sat down next to him…told him he was worth it, a good man. The last time he heard this was from his mother…years past.
What did he do? He broke down in tears and signed into a rehabilitation center like countless times before, but this time, with higher power on his side. He believed now. He earned it.
Is this a story about money? No. This is a story about compassion and withholding of judgment. It is about an angel by the side of this man showing him kindness, sowing seeds of goodness, a giving of Life.
Let us all share Life with each other and not death and destruction. A kind word is more than just a word. It is a message of Love, which is the highest form of power ever encountered. It always changes lives. It changed this man’s life.
I challenge you to go out this season and spice it up, do things a little bit differently. Smile at the checkout lady and give compliments. Share your hearth with that old lady next door. Go and bake that pie and invite your neighbors. Mysteries of life are not far away, they are in your backyard. And sometimes…all it takes to see an angel is to simply look in the mirror.
Olga Pyshnyak, Our Community Food Pantry Board Member, 413-539-1408