At holiday time, there’s really nothing like a story of someone else’s misfortune to completely stop you in your tracks- like a reindeer in headlights. (Whoa! Ho Ho!) It very effectively interrupts all the self-focused thoughts encouraged by the obligations and diversions of the season.
Here’s how it happened to me: it so happens that we’re doing some work on our house, and today, a fellow asked if he could take some of the discarded plywood from the dumpster. Before I could even say oh-my-God-yes-I-mean-we-actually-have-to-pay-to-take-this-stuff-away-so-it-can-sit-and-rot-in-a-landfill-please-please-please-take-it-and-do-something-karmically-better-than-that, he began to explain that it was for a friend, some folks who live in a trailer and have spots in the floor so soft it’s actually dangerous to walk on them, for fear of falling right through.
Also, he mentioned, he knows another fellow who’s homeless, and currently is residing in an old school bus.
Did I mention that it is 17 degrees outside as I write this? That even the snowmen are wincing when the wind blows today? What kind of insulating factor do you think a school bus provides, anyway? It’s a cliché, perhaps, but it’s still true: what on earth to get Great Grouchy Aunt Matilda, or whether a pad of decorative Post-its counts as a nice stocking stuffer, suddenly didn’t seem to matter as much as it did a few minutes ago. Continue reading A Reindeer in Headlights