I'm weaving along the winding roads of the Colorado Rockies when my phone rings. I don't recognize the number, so I let it go to voicemail. My children are in the back, sleeping. It has been a rough journey for them and an exhausting one for me. I'm thinking about Christmas, even though it's early November, and my stress level spikes. How am I going to afford Christmas? What am I going to give my kids? My family?
I, like many others, am on unemployment due to COVID-19. I'm also trying desperately to finish my hours for Massage School, and like everything else the industry has taken a heavy hit. I'm staring into a vast unknown, equally terrified as I am fascinated by what may be coming our way. I try to remind myself that what little I can buy is enough, but there's a part of me that feels like it isn't--like I could give more; like I should be able to give more.
I pull into my driveway. The mysterious number on my phone left a message with a polite request that I call them back. It's a member of a church I used to attend, a quiet place off the beaten path that embodies the loving, forgiving God I grew up with. Weeks ago it was shut down too, leaving many of us stranded without the close companionship we had come to rely on in these hard times.
I redial the number and smile at the kind southern accent that greets me.
"You know we try to bless others for Christmas. This week we asked our staff who they thought needed our help the most this year and it was your name that came up. We'd like to pay for your Christmas, and a meal if you'll let us."
My voice is on the verge of breaking when I say "Thank you." There's tears streaming down my cheeks as I sink deeper into the driver seat, clutching the steering wheel for all I'm worth, which at the moment feels like not much.
It would not be the last time in these final two months of 2020 that I would find myself overcome with gratitude, but this would be my first. I manage to give her a list of what we need, details of what the kids might want as I sit there, and to my surprise she's crying with me.
I manage to give her a list of what we need, details of what the kids might want as I sit there, and to my surprise she's crying with me.
"Why?" I ask, because I can't comprehend such a gift. Why me? Why this? What have I done to deserve such kindness?
"We love you. We see you. We hear you. We want you to know we appreciate you. This is our way of showing love."
I hang up the phone and I still can't breathe. I feel a weight lift off my shoulders for the first time in months, since the pandemic… since before this all started. Having their help means twice what I was, means I can give beyond my means and it fills me with a joy that I'm not familiar with.
It would be a week after that phone call that the news of my dear friend Pete would reach me--the kind of call that would shatter so many people that loved him. Suddenly I was added to a Facebook group, where in a video Pete announced that he had stage 4 colon cancer. I watched the video more times than I can count, again and again and again trying to fathom how someone like me deserved to have her Christmas taken care of, while this man-- a man whose wife has sat down with me more than once so I could accept who I was with her love-would be facing a Christmas that would be a battle.
I wanted to recant, I asked the person who would be delivering my gifts if Pete could take my place-she cried into the phone but stated she knew he was being taken care of. That should have put my heart at rest, but it did not. I had to do something, I had to give something, anything.
One day, I reached out to Pete's wife and asked if I could gift them for Christmas. Snacks, a meal, small things. I could not do a lot. 200 dollars every two weeks puts one on a budget that's incredibly tight but the need to give back was far greater than the cost.
It was to my surprise that I found that she was willing to accept what I could give. I gathered snacks, little things that would nurture-relax them. Give the family the ability to rest so Pete could heal with Chemotherapy-the effects already making him sick. Yet something was missing, something personal. I could not afford to give him anything in money, and I know from experience that when it comes to medical bills-it can and will hit your pockets.
Words. It hit me as I stared at Vocal, that what I was missing giving them were words. My story, tied with theirs-a voice to what they are going through in the middle of a crisis. A crisis that has seemed to not stop since 2020 began. Yet even with them in a battle, I watch Pete light a candle-and try to be a light to the world.
The greatest gift we can give someone is Love. How we speak it, I think gets shouted out often by the demand of material: TVs, Iphones, Gucci, PS5. The whisper in the rock concert gets swept away by the rush of the season, trying to make it the best, biggest and loudest.
I to got lost in the material, so worried about giving the best that I forgot the one gift I could give the most-Love through my words, hope to those that need it in a story-orchestrated by something higher to bring life to a world that has all but lost it.
If I can give any of you reading this one more gift for the end of 2020-it would be this: let your heart give and love. Do not be afraid to give from a piece of your soul, do not be afraid to be the lantern in the storm. For what you think may not have an impact could have the greatest effect on someone. Rippling out from underneath them, so they can be filled up enough to give out.
As the snow falls tonight, a candle burning next to me-this is for you, who you are hopeless, desolate, and lost. You in a battle, you who feel rejected hated, covered in confusion and fear. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
You are seen, you are heard, you are Loved. I was held by people who barely knew me, yet they loved me, in turn I held them back. Let these words be me holding you, let the story that starts with giving and ends with it, shower you in Love. For it is Love that will change this world-it begins with us. I Love You. I Love You. I Love You.
Miracles, Beloved are always for you.
*Authors Note: It is with Pete and Sharas permission that I share this story. If you feel so called, I have left a link to their go fund me-so they can care for medical Bills. This is only if you wish to give-give in your truth: https://www.gofundme.com/f/heinigers-medical-costs/share
Single Mama of Two Beautiful children. StarSeed-Indigo child. Massage Therapy Student. I am a big spiritualist. I love to learn, write and dance. I am an empath. I love to laugh and make magic. I create my life. Designed to make an impact