(The photos have nothing to do with this post. Which shouldn't really surprise you by now. They were pretty and my girl was preparing for her ballet dress rehearsal.)
The other night, The Wizard of Oz was playing on television and of course, we had to watch it even though we've seen it a million times. I'm not alone in this, I know. I have to say, that of all the characters, the Wizard is, and has always been, my favorite. He is such a flawed, bumbling, silly, yet well-intentioned man, who wishes he was so much more. I always laugh when he says, "Back where I come from there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called phila... er, phila... er, yes, er, Good Deed Doers." I laugh at a few other things he says too, but this one struck me in particular, because the idea of philanthropy is probably nearest to our hearts during Christmas. It's so much easier to think of others during the season of giving isn't it? I wish I was always that readily willing to promote the welfare of others but we're all a work in progress. It's easy for me to think of it in lofty terms, rather than in everyday, small moments, but the other day I had one of those moments and it brightened my heart...
I was breathing quickly, my feet keeping pace with the tunes filtering thorough my headphones, as I walked and enjoyed a neighborhood walking path. The temperature was hovering around the freezing mark and I had to carefully step over frozen puddles and rivulets of ice that had trickled over the sidewalk. My hands were encased in furry mittens and even through the warm layers of multiple sweatshirts, I could feel the bite of the bitter cold. An air current picked up as I neared the crest of a hill and I hurried my pace. Burying my nose into the high neck of my soft black sweatshirt, I didn't bother to look both ways as I skimmed over a cross street. The only traffic that came from up that way were neighborhood cars exiting houses and there weren't a lot of people out that morning. As my feet stepped onto the edge of the curb, the corner of my eye caught movement coming down the hill at me, fast.
I didn't have a lot of time to react, but in those few seconds I discerned that it was a person, wrapped in bubble wrap, waving their arms frantically at me, and perhaps yelling angrily. I yanked the earpiece from my ear while simultaneously turning, ready to attack in whatever way I could manage. I could see they were slightly smaller than I was and I was ready to take this person down one way or another.
As I stopped, my ears clear, I realized they were shouting at me to "wait." As they neared me, I realized it was a woman, about my age, with bubble wrap around her shoulders, yelling "Wait- do you have a cell phone?" I can't even begin to tell you the thoughts in my head at that moment. In the near-freezing weather a person yelling at me, wearing bubble wrap? Well, I was thinking "crazy." She stopped and we faced one another and she hurriedly explained that she had recently moved in, had run out to the car to grab something but the garage/house door had locked behind her. She hadn't been prepared for the weather, wearing a light shirt and capri-style yoga pants, so had grabbed the only thing in her garage- a sheet of bubble wrap, to keep warm. Then she had gone door-to-door asking for a phone, bless her heart, only to discover that all of her new neighbors were not home. It was about that time when I hurried past the bottom of the street and she ran yelling down the hill to catch me before I was out of earshot. She needed to call her husband to ask where a spare key was hidden outside. I immediately handed her my mittens for her frozen fingers, and reached into my pocket for my phone. We walked up the hill together, back to her house as she reached her husband, and then we made brief introductions. We found out that our children attended the same school and I was able to see her get back inside where it was warm.
As I continued on my daily walk, my heart was tickled to death at the events of the morning. I'll be honest, I was still giggling inwardly about a person running at me in bubble wrap and what I'd thought, and what might have been. But more than that, the fact that they were put directly into my path and I was able to do a small thing to help another person, blessed my heart down to my socks. I remembered in that moment, what of course we all know but easily forget- sometimes it is the littlest things we do for one another that bless us even more than the person receiving. It occurred to me that if I feel that way, a mere human... God must also feel this way to a universal extent. He says in the bible, that He delights to give us good gifts. And this month as we celebrate His greatest gift, His own son, think about how much it delights HIM to give us that gift! It actually brings tears of joy to my eyes and makes me want to find other small ways to bless others. How about you?
(Matthew 7:9-12) “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If
you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your
children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."