The potatoes were sliced in small enough pieces for her to eat. Croup, that's what we were thinking it was: the heavy metalic cough and gasping for breath. Lillie was sleeping peacefully now as I prepared the chicken noodle soup for supper, hoping it would help ease her symptoms.
I turned and glanced out the window to see that the barn lights were still on. My Farmer and Violet were feeding the cows, and I wanted the soup to be ready when they came in from the cold.
The phone rang. I hesitated as I heard the automated caller ID announce the name. It was a name I recognized, but never heard announced on our phone. I stopped to wipe my hands and then lifted it to my ear.
It was the elderly gentleman who lived up the road a bit from us. He was a soft-spoken man, busy. His property boasted a variety of nut trees and kiwi vines as well as 100 or more perfectly kept blueberry bushes,
evenly spaced down the field from his house which was hidden behind a wall of evergreen trees.
I knew him mostly because every fall, he and his friend arrive at our farm in his truck, the back stacked with five-gallon buckets. His father owned our property long ago and planted the many black walnut trees that line our land.
He knows the different types in the tree lines of the walnut trees. His twirling metal cage on the end of a rod tumbles around the back fields, catching up countless walnuts. Violet loves to go out and help when he arrives.
On the other end of the phone, I hear the quiet man. He asks me if we had heard. His wife had died last week. Suddenly. Without warning. It was a rare sickness. My voice melted in sympathy as I told him how sorry I was. That we had heard and were praying for him. And then the phone call ended.
My life was full of packed van rides with little girls and boys asking for something to drink, pass the cookies, stopping to rush into the bathroom.
I don't get to see my sisters as often as I'd like, so when we are together, we try to pack in as much laughter as is possible. After all, Christmas only comes once a year.
No cards had left the household. No time was to be spent on unnecessary phone calls. Eating was done at on the go: out at a restaurant, or on bumpy seats in the van.
And now I stood over my boiling soup, thinking of my sick child,
when my thoughts had been shattered by the realization that a man was alone...
in a house full of memories at Christmas time.
I glanced again to the barn, and then searched out a little blue card with a bouquet of flowers on the front. Scratching out a simple message, I sealed it in the envelope and then rummaged through my cupboards looking for a decent sized plastic container I wouldn't mind never seeing again.
My husband and Violet spent a few minutes that evening, entering a home and listening to the heart of a man with stories. Violet came home to tell me that he has five children, thirteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, and that he had teddy bears in his living room. His wife had collected them. "There were 43 teddy bears, Mom, I counted them."
And then I realized that when Christmas came in a manger, the lights of heaven opened, a choir came down,
the King of Kings.
I looked down into my bowl of soup
and saw Christmas.
a farmer who still has his work clothes on, a little girl amazed by a room full of teddy bears.
It's not just my sick children,
my happy visits,
the presents still waiting to be wrapped.
It's about mankind around us,
who have needs:
many to come to know the Savior born on Christmas
and others to feel that love that He gives;
mankind made up of individual people
who in quiet despair make a phone call to a neighbor so that a heart can be heard.
I promised myself that night that I will look for Christmas a little harder in the last few days preceding it.
I will embrace "the season of giving" instead of racing to conquer
I will let my eyes meet those around me and really listen.
I will really pray for those who are alone at Christmas,
I will stop and let my kids put some money
into the little red kettle of the next bell-ringer we meet
instead of telling them "No," for the tenth time.
instead of telling them "No," for the tenth time.
And when he smiles and tells them,
I'll stop and look into his eyes and say,
And you have a Merry Christmas."
"And there were in the same country shepherds
abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.
the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them,
I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David
which is Christ the Lord."
Linking up with
Funky Junk Interiors.blogspot.com
Kelly's Korner Christmas homes.
A Wise Woman Builds her Home
We are that Family
Not Just a Housewife
Hip Homeschool Moms
A Stroll thru Life
Homestories A to Z
A Bowl Full of Lemons
Thrifty Decor Chick
A Little Blue Sky
Amaze me Monday