The other day I went to my old yarn shop, on the other side of town. When I go to the one on "this" side of town, they know me as a woman who blows in, always in a hurry, and buys a ton of yarn apparently without regard to price - because God knows, I spend a lot of money on yarn.
On the "other" side of town, they have known me for probably close to 20 years. So, the older woman, who is now on oxygen, stayed to help me find some yarn for a last minute gift even though she was done with her shift and supposed to leave. I appreciated her help. We talked some about the good old days. I was astounded that she remembered the days when I had given up my automobile so that I could pay my child support. I would ride my bike to the yarn shop (and everywhere else too). She remembered when I could barely afford to purchase any yarn and they would take a post dated check from me and wait until the first of the month to cash it. She told me that she and the other owner worried about me terribly and how happy they were that I was able to pay my child support, get a decent job, get an education, graduate with honors, get my promotions, buy a house, etc., etc., etc. I don't sit around and remember these things consciously.
But I don't think I ever forget.
Tomorrow I am invited to a Christmas party with some work friends. I really do like these friends and I am looking forward to it. But the thing that has me stymied is the concept of a "gag gift." I can't think of anything that could be a bigger waste of time or energy. Why not get a real gift? Or no gift at all? Why waste time, money, gift wrap, energy, and life on a "gag?" I do not get it and I don't think I am ever going to get it. I don't think it is something that can be explained to a person who ever tried to figure out how to feed three kids with one egg. A person who was grateful for the healthy legs to pedal her $100. bicycle around town while others worried about me.
I will try, honest I will, but I don't expect to understand or do it well. I don't even want to.
Instead, I will stick five $20. bills in Christmas card for a woman at work to give to her daughter-in-law who is likely in her last days of cancer. I don't know what else to do and I know they need it. I understand that. Oh, I probably can't afford to do it, but I do all kinds of things I can't afford to do. And I am not telling you this to tell you how great I am. It is just that we all have something that we can give that is meaningful. And we ought to try to give that instead of trying to be clever or funny or look good.
Sorry, I still don't feel really great, and I think I am being a little bit heavy-handed here. So, forgive me please. I will be back to myself soon, I am sure.
Yesterday at the grocery store, I saw a woman honk at an old person backing out of a handicapped parking place and it made me cry. Why can't we just slow the hell down and be nice to each other?
We used to talk about these things in AA meetings. Giving to others without expecting anything in return. Giving something to another without getting found out. Smiling when we felt like cussing. These are the things that build a different character out of the selfish wreckage we bring to the table when we arrive at the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous. Oh, it is such good stuff.