I thought that I was turning into a bit of a Grinch or something...
The holidays were not my thing anymore. Oh don't get me wrong it's still my favorite time of the year; people are generally warmer toward one another, the shopping, and the time spent with people that you haven't seen in ages makes the season all worthwhile. Sure there is the inevitable drama that ensues but let's not act like we don't always see it coming from a mile away.
This year, for me, was different. A little. And like many-a revolutionary mind altering moments do, it all started last week on a rainy day. I was running errands of all dreadful things with my kid and my mom for the surprise Thanksgiving dinner we were planning to host for my grandmother. As you can probably imagine the sweetly annoying, kicking, knocking, and yelling distractions of my three year old didn't help with my patience while maneuvering around our small town of disgruntled holiday shoppers in the rain. So when Mom suggested Wendy's on the way home I was all for it. When we got there a little Thanksgiving miracle happened: she opted to go inside to order the food.
After she went inside I noticed a man crouched on the ground trying to take shelter from the rain under the roof's gutter overlap thingy. I've seen this guy around, I thought, a few times, but it didn't matter once I remembered that I could help regardless. I got out of the car. "Hey," I yelled to get his attention when he slowly looked up at me. "You need an umbrella?"
"Hell yea." He answered almost as rhetorically as I had asked him. His frail frame was holding together memories of super foods and long runs. He almost resembled The Guy from HBO and YouTube Series, High Maintenance. After small talk I learned his name is Christopher and he learned a little bit of how awesome my late father-in-law was. I wanted him to remember the man behind his new hoodie that was reeking with swipes of perfume I'd recently stolen from my younger sister's dresser after dropping off a few bags of groceries. It wasn't my first time giving anything to someone homeless. In fact, it was the story of my own experience a few years back when my kid was a baby and I prayed through tears for better days as he nursed from my breasts in the backseat of our car stuffed with everything we owned, that I used to ease his embarrassment. Life be's like that sometimes. Riding home I worried about him in a way. I was concerned for his health; even though I had given him all I could to stay dry and warm with the rest of the money I had for food it still didn't initially feel like enough. I wanted to give him some company. I wanted to give him a family.
Two days later I was reminded of my humble encounter at the surprise dinner where my granny was in the same room with two of her siblings for the first time in over a decade. Family, even so much as the idea of it, seems to be the thread of things. It was sort of profound really. To witness a single idea bloom into a moment so heavenly designed simply took my breath away. No ads or gimmicks just vats of wide laughter that fill the belly with enormous light. Like the moments I shared with Christopher; his eyes wrinkling with gratitude at my horrible jokes gently trembling with trepidation. In that very instance of time he and I were the one. We were family. We are family. And much like the network of those that held me and mine up throughout our turbulent times, he knows that there will always be family here. The kind that may not see you everyday but you know deep down inside that they're always praying for you. The kind of prayers that hold you through your worst moments and questions of life to say, "even if the days don't get any better- you will." The kind of prayers that make relatives out of strange blood; the stock that breeds hope, and acceptance, understanding and eternal love.
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