Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Moment of Grace

It happens every Christmas.

House bursting with Santas, snowmen and sleds. Cookies and fudge ready for any random visitors, the smell of cinnamon and sugar-cookie candles filling the house. The tree is beautiful, if lacking much in the way of presents just yet.

I can sit on the couch at night with the lights off, just taking in the beauty of it all.

And wait.

See, every year I feel like I have a candle inside, waiting for a spark, for that one thing to happen that will make it really seem like Christmas. A moment of grace, as it were.

I think I got it yesterday.

I was on my way from work to pick up the granddaughter, sitting at a traffic light waiting to turn left. There was a convenience store parking lot to my left, cleared of snow, but on the corner was a mailbox with almost a foot of packed snow and ice all around. An elderly woman had pulled up there, and was standing, mail in hand, at the edge of the snow, trying to figure out how best to step up on that icy shelf without falling. I kept glancing over; at one point she bent down to the snowbank to steady herself, but still, could not find the confidence to lift her foot up.

I can understand that. My knees, NC and TC, (no cartilege and torn cartilege) strongly advise me not to tempt the ice. But...

Yep, she's still standing there. I pulled into the parking lot.

RM: Ma'am, can I help you?
Elderly Lady: I'm just scared to death I'm going to slip and fall!
RM: I don't blame you. Let me put those in for you.

I took her letters, and gingerly walked across the ice, begging NC and TC all the while not to literally let me down.

EL: If it's past the pickup time, don't mail them.
RM: Pickup's at 4:15, they haven't been here yet.
EL: Oh good. Look at you, just walzing right up to that box!

Flailing of arms and walking like you have a cob up your butt is now considered walzing in the Frozen Tundra.

RM: There you go!
EL: (laying a hand on my arm) oh you dear! You are just my Christmas angel!
RM: Have a merry Christmas!

I got back in my car and headed on my way. Bawling like a baby. That happens alot lately.

I don't know why I need this. And it is such a small thing. Maybe it's just to reassure myself that I still have some humanity and compassion left, especially when there are too many days I feel myself to be mean and rude and self-absorbed.

But the lights on the tree looked especially lovely last night.


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