Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Best Gift ..... Ever

Thanksgiving was over.  Black Friday sales were slowing down.  One day we were thankful for what we have.  The next day we shopped for more.   Maybe we ate too much or spent too much money but most of us reflected on what we appreciated about our lives -- our families and friends.

The question was once posed to me "What gift have you received that you appreciated the most?"  It only took a micro second to remember my favorite gift - ever.  I am acutely aware of it on a regular basis.

It was 1987.  My husband and I were going through a rough patch of bad luck.  It seemed that no matter what we did to get ahead, we were thrown two steps back. We had taken a huge financial loss and did not have any income at the time. Jobs were more than scarce and every day seemed to bring a new dilemma.

It was Christmas time and there was no money for any gifts or turkey dinner.  Please don't misunderstand me.  There are things a lot more important than exchanging gifts but it was a harsh reminder of how difficult the year had been. Although we remained optimistic, the future looked pretty grim.

How Could I Manage Without it?

My favorite spoon that I used for cooking was a long-handled metal one with a rubber end to protect your hand.  While preparing our dinner that evening, the rubber end broke off. Without warning, the flood gates opened and I began to weep.  All the pent-up emotion of our circumstances poured out.  I sat down on the kitchen floor and cried.  When my husband heard me, he came into the kitchen and saw the broken spoon in my hand.

Gently, he removed the spoon and laid it on the counter. He took me in his arms and held me.  No words were exchanged.  There was no need.

The next day was Christmas and it was snowing.  Perfect. We lived in a remote area surrounded by acres of woods. The beauty of the forest was breathtaking.  What fun we would have playing in the snow with our children.  The freshness of the pure white snow seemed to send the message that this new year would be a new beginning.  I found solace in that.

We had some small gifts for the children under the Christmas tree and they had used their imagination to make us each a small token of love.  Then I saw it.

On the kitchen counter was my spoon.  My favorite spoon.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  It had a new handle.  It was a wooden handle.  I had no idea where he got it or how he did it, but my husband had found a piece of wood to fit the spoon.  My spoon.  It could still be used.  I got so excited that I believe the children were concerned Mom had lost her faculties.

The lesson the children learned that day was priceless. They understood the joy that comes when giving a gift from the heart.  All of us have had experiences like this that make us realize what is important. What love is.

That was almost 30 years ago and I am still using that spoon.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Every day I am reminded to find a way to make a gesture, no matter how small, to show appreciation to those I love. We may never know the impact it could make.  I will never forget it.

What was your best gift ever?  Did you have one with a lasting impact?

P S - Another Thanksgiving story that will warm your heart - Thanksgiving Will Never Be The Same

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