It’s December. There is snow on the ground and flakes falling from the sky. I have a list a mile long and my shoulders are tense as I contemplate the things left to do. It’s chilly outside. My toes are more than a little cold. But more significantly, today is the day I am ringing the bells for the Salvation Army outside the Royal Oak Post Office.
This day is very special to me. I do this every December. It’s a day that reminds me that others are not so fortunate as I … it’s a day I set aside to work to give those individuals a little bit of holiday joy. It’s a day I try and offer that same cheer to people I’ve never met and will most likely never see again. As I ring the bell, I offer a bit of healing light to those who pass by me … a little bit of Christmas spirit to brighten their day.
I ring the bell constantly as I stand there. I want others to hear the call. And I smile. I have my Christmas Playlist shuffling on my iPhone with earbuds in. It’s playing just loud enough to entertain me through the constant jingle of that brass bell, occasionally adding to my rhythm. But it’s not loud enough that I can’t speak to the people who walk up those steps to mail their cards, letters and packages.
Many who enter the post office have long faces. The rush of the season gets to them like it gets to me. I swear I have an Anxiety attack for the first week or so of December every year. The pressure, shopping, traffic, decorating, baking, lists of projects, hassle and stress of selecting just the right thing for everyone on my list gets to me. And I lose focus on what is truly significant about this time of year.
People … Love … and the Redeeming Gift of Grace.
I can’t offer Grace. But, as I ring the bell, I offer a bit of myself and the love, light and healing energy that is a part of me. I bestow it like a shield around them. How do I do that? I smile. I speak gentle, hopeful, welcoming words to all — even if they don’t put loose change or dollars in the red bucket. I try to remind them that there is a merry, healing Sparkle around them when I wear my Disney Princess Santa Hat with his silver glittery snowflakes and hot pink glow.
One more thing … I say Merry Christmas to everyone who passes by me. Some utter it in return. Some nod. Some say nothing. But, I reach out … and that is my Gift.
There’s a lot of Darkness in the world … especially after the grueling election that polarized this nation in 2016. Enough of that. Now is a time of healing. I don’t care who you voted for or what your politics are. This season is about Hope and a Promise.
The Present wrapped in shiny paper is not the Gift I seek … it’s Time with the people important to me. What Glitters in my Heart is the Laughter we’ve shared, the Conversations I replay in my mind, the Touch of a Hand or a Hug, the Smile you gave me as we left each other. The Gift I long for most comes not with a bow but with Moments and Memories … in the Message that reminds me that we are important to each other no matter how far away or how limited our Moments Together might be.
The bell glitters off the sunlight as I ring it. The change falling into the Red Bucket is brighter than the decorations hung around the town. The smiles — when they come my way — give me something back. And today, I found more joy than I can say when a nice gentleman bought me a Peppermint Mocha. This gesture warmed me to my frozen toes … a reminder of selfless acts of kindness.
Yes, I still have a list and many things to do. But today I work for those who I don’t know and who will never know me. The Bell I hold isn’t Silver or Gold. But it has value to me. And it will bring Joy to the World.