This is a true story that I wrote two years ago my first month in college, when my family had a horrific event occur in our lives the Christmas prior. It has changed me and made me the woman I am today. So in honor of today being the day the Christmas Jar is to be given away I felt it was a great fit for today’s post. Enjoy 🙂 and Merry Christmas!
The Gift of Love
My heart went cold as I sat in my school’s guidance office and our Police Officer told me there had been a fire. I couldn’t move, as guidance counselor handed me the phone and told me my mom would like to talk to me. I was kind of in shock as my mom asked if I wanted her to come get me. I sat and waited for her as my guidance counselor called my boyfriend down to the office. I sat there waiting, not knowing what exactly to expect when she got there. Just as she got there, so did my boyfriend. When she had both of us in her arms she just cried. My mom was so happy just to see that we were safe. My boyfriend wanted to leave with us but he wasn’t allowed to. So he had to stay at school, which was hard for him. We left and went down to the Jr. High to get my middle sister but she didn’t know what was going on. My mom took us to my grandmas because they didn’t want us down at the house where the fire had been. But she had to go back,
So it was just my sister and I. I told her what had happened and she cried and cried and it killed me to see her cry that much. I felt helpless and had no clue what to do.
The rest of that day my mind was the smoke filled rooms of the house that I could only imagine. The only thing I remember from that day is the ash covered people coming in and out of my grandmother’s house carrying our possessions that were ruined but we could probably salvage, and the sound of my little sister crying because she wanted to go home, and the overwhelming smell of smoke that would surround me for the next few weeks. We had nothing but what we took to school with us that day. My Supportive grandma was willing to let us stay with her till we found a new house. But that night we were faced with a problem. So my mother pulled me into a room and said she needed to talk to me. I had no clue what was coming. She said, “Do you realize Christmas is in 10 days?” I replied, “That means everything you already bought is gone now” “Yes, and now we don’t have money to go buy all of the gifts again” she sobbed. As the oldest of three I said “Don’t worry about me, just make sure we can make it as normal as we can for the girls.” My Mom just stood there and cried. She was so proud of me for caring more about my younger sisters than my self.
But then someone knocked on my grandmother’s front door. So my mom answered it. She had no idea who the woman was, but she handed my mom a huge garbage bag full of clothes and shoes and everyday necessities. The woman said she had heard what had happened and wanted to help out. After that the woman turned to leave and as they were walking away all they said was “Happy Holidays”.
My mom was dumbfounded. Did a stranger really just do that? A few hours later my little sister’s teacher and a few other teachers came with clothes for us girls to wear, and hair accessories, and shoes, and a stuffed animal for each of us. As it got late people stopped showing up, but the phone never stopped ringing. Then, for days and days after, people kept bringing us clothes or offering anything they could to us or simply just giving us money. I had never hugged so may people in my life. But just the same I’ve never cried so much in my life, either. People I knew, people I didn’t, just kept telling me how bad they felt about it and they were sorry for our loss. And everyone wanted to help out. Either giving us something or money, they all just wanted to help.
But the most amazing thing happened on Christmas Eve. My Grandma always has a party, and this year was no different. We helped get ready and prepare food. Then, as always, all of our family started showing up. Bringing things they thought we still might need, because they wanted to help too. But the party went on as usual. The men standing in the kitchen drinking and picking at the mountains of food, the woman sitting in the living room telling stories about their grandchildren, the young kids running up and down the stairs between the basement full of toys and the kitchen where they could sneak cookies from the table. It all felt normal. No one treated us any different or made it seem like they felt bad for us. We were all just family having a big Christmas party.
At one point my mom and I were sitting in the front room when someone knocked on the door. To us, this was odd, because on Christmas Eve, people just walk in. When my mom went to the door, there was a stranger there. The Person handed my mom a bag and said, “Merry Christmas” and then left. We didn’t really know what to think. My mom proceeded to open the bag, and in it was a large mason jar with money in it and a book that was titled “ The Christmas Jar”. The next few days she began to read and then finish the book. I’ve never read it, but my mom has told me that the person that receives it starts their own jar to give to someone in a time a need, and after all this that had happened to us in the last few weeks, I began to realize that whether people are your family or complete strangers, none of them want to see you hurting and helpless. Everyone wants to help out. It’s so great to be part of such a loving community, from my guidance counselor that was there to check up on me every day, to the stranger with the jar full of money. I learned I will always cherish what I have and where I’m from, and any time I can give back to this community that helped my family out so much, I will. But more importantly I learned that the things like family or friends are one of the most important things in life. Wealth isn’t measured in what you can hold in your hands, but the love that you receive from the ones surrounding you that will forever be in your heart.