Sunday, December 21, 2008

What we have...


It's that time of the year to over spend, over eat, and under appreciate what most of us really have in our life. It seems the gifts get bigger and more expensive every year - or maybe that is just having a kid growing up to be a teenager? I know I am over eating again this year since the scale tells me so. I also know I am under appreciating my life since I have not stopped to think about my blessings in a while.

It gets so confusing when you mix in the fantasy world of TV where stars compare TV sizes and how many "whips" they have on Cribs or where a 16 year old gets a $350,000 "Sweet 16" birthday party to the realities in the world where kids do not have Christmas presents or a new bicycle because the parents do not have a job or other reasons.

In the offset of the TV world last week, I had the honor of helping a local church, Faith Christian Outreach, hand out 414 bicycles to kids around our area for Christmas. We donated money for a bike and my wife was asked to bring cookies for the snacks they provide for the kids and parents receiving a bike, so we thought we would go out and help the process. With at least 100 church members already there I really didn't know what I could do to help.

By chance I thought I would stay at the exit door and help the kids and parents get the bikes out of the building and in their vehicles if needed. That ended up being one of the best seats in the house in my opinion. By then the busy part of the initial presentation and the 'cheer leaders' that were hailing each recipient as they moved through the line was over but the emotions were still there.

I must have said have a Merry Christmas and have a nice holiday 400 times that day but seeing those kids from 3 to 13 with wide eyes of amazement and joy and parents with teary eyes of appreciation and thanks was something I really needed to wipe away some of the blindness I have to appreciate what we have in our lives. Many told me thanks and that without this their kids would not have a bike at all. An amazing number of the kids were saying thanks on their own without that nudging that is usually needed by a parent. Kneeling down there and watching those happy little faces as they were still in awe of pushing their new bike around brought up the teary feeling and itchy eyes many times that day.

I suppose it is the normal 'American' concept anymore - more is good - bigger is better - cooler is required and spend, buy, and feast our way through the holidays but at least for a short period of time I have stopped, looked around, helped just a little and tried to appreciate what we have.
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