Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Invisible Blessings!

Your Weekly Challenge from Brook Noel - Make Today Matter,

Invisible Blessings

You cannot live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.John Wooden

My mother recently came up with a very neat idea. With the holidays approaching, she decided to compile our favorite holiday recipes and our favorite holiday stories into a simple volume to share together. We each began searching our memory for Christmas stories of past and present to contribute to this thoughtful project. This story, although ours, can be yours as well. It carries the message of one of life's greatest fulfillments -- the invisible blessing. To give is a wonderful thing; to give completely anonymously is even more wonderful. When we don't need a "thank you" or a "pat on the back," then our giving becomes completely about the recipient versus an affirmation of ourselves. That type of giving or "invisible blessing" is the most powerful of all. This simple story shares a memory of a woman who had truly mastered the "invisible blessing." The Woman and The Postman Once again the tiny, rural Post Office in our Northwood's Wisconsin Town had been properly notified. The "Postmaster," simply known as John, had received his yearly letter (addressed to "John"--first name only--"Post Office"--no street and number, no zip code, only the word "Town" ) asking him to select 5 little girls "from Santa's List" who would love to receive a Christmas Doll. Now, John knew everything and everybody--If you wanted to find out something, or get the local 'scuttle-but' you went to John--so he set about checking his postal routes, making his recommendations, and had the season's list secretly delivered to the woman. From about November 1st on--the woman's dining room table became covered with snippets of lace and ribbons, buttons and bows, velvets and satins--along with the 5 Madame Alexander Dolls that had been ordered for that year through the mail. Her needles and thread in hand, and an old Singer sewing machine by her side, the woman began to weave her yearly Christmas magic. Party clothes, sports wear, ball gowns, warm winter coats--she fashioned them all--until each doll had a wardrobe beyond any girls dreams. A week before Christmas, she would have the dolls delivered to the stoop of the Post Office, beautifully wrapped and tagged for each child with a note from Santa. John would notify the families that a special package had arrived and needed to be picked up, before he closed on Christmas Eve. The week after Christmas, John would usually receive a thank you note, or two, or three, that needed to be delivered in return. Sworn to secrecy he would pass on the child-scribbled notes to "whom it may concern." Then one Fall a funeral came to pass, November came and went and the list hadn't been asked for, the Christmas dolls didn't arrive, and the magic faded. Not long after that John put in for retirement. The Post Office became renovated with zip codes + 4, an automated sorter, updated routing and regulations, and rules too numerous to count or accept; a new Post Man was "brought up from the city"--all in the name of "progress." Still bound by his oath of secrecy John's knowledge about the woman and the dolls retired with him. EpilogueEvery year, when we'd go to my Aunt's for Thanksgiving dinner, I'd always notice that her table had just been cleared of a sewing project ... She would set a fine table and our family would eat and feast until we could barely eat any more. And then, over her delicious pumpkin pie, my talk would turn to speculation about the mystery dolls that would surely arrive (just like mine had) at the Post Office--just in time for Christmas. My Aunt Joan would just give me a wink and her yearly reply, "Surely, my dear, you'll have another piece of pie..." Your Weekly Challenge:While in the hustle and bustle of daily life, we often think life is about gain, or accomplishment, or maintaining status quo. It isn't. Life is about relationships, about love, about kindness, about caring. Those are the moments we all long for more of. As we move into this holiday season, remember how much we all make a difference, and find a way to "invisibly bless" someone.

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