Well, let me tell you, the best thing I did all holiday season (aside from hanging with my peeps) started from one of my BIG ideas. Only . . . I can’t really claim any originality in this one. A while back I had read a post by a Facebook friend who shared she was doing a blessings “sale”. The reason for the quotation marks – which my now eleven year old has mastered the use of the air version of these – is that there would be absolutely nothing for sale. All the items would be given away. I watched her pictures and her posts. Her garage was neatly organized; equipped with beverages and treats at the ready to bless her friends and neighbors. Longingly I admired her commitment to less – which is an ever elusive siren song for me – and unabashedly I’ve wanted to be her.
There, I said it.
I wanted to steal her idea and love with abandon – not my stuff but – people in my own village a little more than an hour away.
On some random Tuesday, God opened that door. A small group message among teacher friends started innocuously with a question about having some items of clothing to give away and mushroomed into an amazing-drop-me-to-my-knees-hands-lifted-in-praise-moment.
Anyone who has spent ten minutes with me immediately knows three things: I am a hugger. I have a story for everything. AND finally, I am a dreamer always swirling with ideas – BIG ideas.
I seized my opportunity and blurted out (okay through my fingertips) what my friend accomplished down the road and how I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO THAT. After an impassioned explanation of my big idea, my sweet cohorts announced in their own Jerry Maguire moment I had them at “blessing others.”
The crazy thing though about less is you often come away with more.
We got to plan hatching (small confession: this is my favorite part of dreaming). We chose a date, a location, created posters (both online and on paper), asked other friends, neighbors, and students to help us give back. We delivered flyers to organizations that would be able to distribute them and left the rest to God.
We three teachers live among good people, who shine brightly in the dark of winter. Donations came pouring in – once loved items, treats to share, and amazing volunteers. The entire church basement was full. The original four tables were matched with another four and another four after that. No one wanted to utter the thought, but we were all thinking it. Mother Nature had begun to stir her wintry stew. What if we did all this and no one came?
Even in the blessing, we faltered. We allowed God to be less. I should have known better. I sent the original idea friend a message telling her what we were doing and asking for any last minute pointers earlier that morning. Her simple reply baffled me.
Be prepared to have your socks blessed off.
Do what? We wanted to bless others. Not the other way around. How could this be? Is it in the giving – the getting rid of the more to have less that would somehow result in more of something else?
Blessed we were. The formerly shod were humbly drawn closer to the soul of God.
Worry we should have not.
In came one. Then two. Then four or five more were followed by countless beautiful, amazing people in need of a blessing. God’s mighty hand was opening the bags we handed at the door but more importantly opening our souls to the power of possibility, the grace of the divine, the holy of giving and loving.
Those who had doubted if any would show up fought hard to hold back tears as new friends wrapped our necks with hugs. Glimpses of glory were savored as we overheard parents saying they were rushing home to wrap new treasures for their babes. Tiny grandmothers bowed in reverence, whispering in broken English – “Thank you, Teacher.” Sweeter words were never spoken – until later that evening – when through tear stained faces, we thanked God for the more we received.
More faces that resembled God’s own
As I lay in bed that night, I couldn’t sleep. My mind was swirling with visions of how much more I could give away, of how I never wanted to forget this moment because I wanted more of them, and of how much more of God I wanted to see in the everyday ordinary moments of life. Swollen eyelids heavy from the tears shed and from the busyness of the day took their toll.
For that one cold and blustery night, my heart was warmed while my feet were cold; my socks being blown away much earlier in the evening.