December 21, 2008

"He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree."

~ Roy L. Smith

Something weird came over me today. I left the kids at home with Rob and I took off around 10:00 a.m. I was heading to Wal-Mart, Sears, and the grocery store. I picked up what I needed at Wal-Mart and headed out the door only to be met by a man soliciting for money for a miscellaneous cause that I didn't catch wind of. What I did catch was a twinge of guilt when I told him, "Sorry, I'm not carrying any cash today." The truth was, I really wasn't carrying cash. The guilt was for that very reason. I wanted to drop a buck in the locked box. Normally, I don't think twice about brushing off a solicitor. I never have the spare cash and I cynically assume that a portion of that money will go towards salaries. I realize, logically, that in most cases that simply isn't true, but I use it as justification for not coughing up fifty cents.

I felt even worse when he said, "Thank you anyway, have a nice day," and his voice carried that resignation and sarcasm. I was pushing a cart with a box of diapers, and three bags, two of which had gifts in it, a gift each for my step-nephews; how could I not have cash? Or maybe my guilt is manifesting this.

Then I get out to the car and as I'm climbing into the driver's seat, I look over across the cart corral and see a woman flipping open the top of a garbage can, collecting cans and bottles for recycling, probably to earn a few bucks for a meal. Any other day, I'd just go about my business, paying her no mind. What did I do today? I started digging around my floorboards for a bag to gather up our used bottles and cans, hoping to pass a quarter's worth of recycling on to her. By the time I realized I had no bag and only one can to offer, though, she was on to the next aisle.

My ten-minute drive to Sears was filled with an odd feeling. I could almost feel Christmas stirring my soul. I was smiling, I was singing at the top of my lungs, and all I wanted to do was finish running my errands so I could get home and figure out how to give this Christmas and from now on. We have a truckload of stuffed animals the kids don't play with that we'd like to donate, a bunch of old clothes, some toys. I guess I'll post most of them on Freecycle since no shelter will take used clothing or toys. I may also donate some old blankets and sheets to the local animal shelter. On Christmas Eve, we're going up to Antioch to help my father-in-law and stepmother-in-law feed the homeless and needy. They provide a huge, hot meal and hand out blankets and warm clothes, it's a really great thing they do.

It's just really strange that at a time when we have very little and are facing down a grim immediate future that all I want to do is give. Maybe it's because the shoe's on the other foot now and I'm seeing just how tough it can get. Or I've realized that I have so much more than a lot of people have: a healthy family, a roof over my head, food in the refrigerator, a car to take me places that isn't falling apart (actually, it kind of is but it's holding up nicely all things considered), and a place to go on Christmas.

I don't know...I always knew what the true meaning of Christmas was, I just never really felt it until this year. Then with all that soul-stirring going on, it made me wonder (again), if there isn't something to the whole belief thing. I don't know if I ever explained it in its entirety, but I was born and raised a Catholic - got confirmed and everything. Then I left the Catholic church in 1998 for the Church of Christ and was baptised in June 1999. Sometime over the next two years, however, I started to question my beliefs and found that I didn't really believe in the bible. I'd always taken it in stride, assumed it's truth because that's what I'd been taught: to believe and not to question. I got more into the science of man and evolution and whatnot...I declared myself Agnostic and have never looked back.

But with all that's been going on lately, and the random acts of kindness thrown our way - that I haven't blogged about because really, it's kind of personal - I can't help but wonder. My problem lies here: what do I do with the scientific facts that can't be explained away? Specifically, evolution? One time, in a discussion about evolution, Darwin, and pre-historic times, this transpired:

Rob: Well, if the bible is historical fact, then how do you explain dinosaurs?
Father-in-law: Well, maybe they just didn't exist.

How can you deny the existence of dinosaurs? Or evolution? I don't know. I'm pretty confused about the whole kit 'n caboodle. I guess that's part of life, right? To figure out what works for us and what doesn't?


susiederkins23 said...

Wow. Darcie, I loved reading this post. You should write a memoir/book/whatever! Just keep writing!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

Heidi B.

Valeta said...

Have you ever watched the Duggars new show "17 kids and counting"?

In one episode they take their kids to a "creation" museum. Basically a museum that says evolution is scientifically inaccurate. It also said dinosaurs lived with Adam and Eve. I could not help but laugh the entire episode. I mean how can so many people just deny what really happened?

Anyway, I think its great to give to the needy. Whenever the charity truck comes around our neighborhood we always give old clothes or toys to it.

Minxy Mimi said...

I think its normal to wonder about things, we all do...or if we dont, then I think we have ceased to use the brain that we were born with. JMHO
I have a hard time with religion, especially one that expects us to believe a dozen things that are kind of like magic...but yet dismisses things that are proven (Dinosaurs) or things that question anything they dont want to question...
I think its awesome you have the spirit of Christmas in your heart. Its funny I used almost that same quote for my quoteable Sunday yesterday!
Have a Happy and peaceful Christmas!

Diana said...

in my opinion, the addition of religion to your life will not make you happier/richer/whatever. brad's parents are very religious (they WORK for their church, if you will...) and they are still just as broke and unhappy as the rest of us. honestly, i think they need a little LESS religion in their lives, but that's another story...

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