Saturday, December 20, 2014

Tulips in December

Earlier this week I was given a bouquet of tulips.  
Yes, beautiful yellow and orange tulips in December.  I had met a friend in the mall 
parking lot; her 14 year old daughter is fighting cancer.  She gave me the bag I had come to pick up, and then her youngest daughter, 8, sweetly handed me tulips and a bag of homemade treats.

Imagine my surprise.  There I was, empty-handed, taking gifts from a family that is going through a struggle I can't comprehend.  Just one week before, the mom had signed paperwork for hospice care to begin.  Walking away, arms full of gifts, I was humbled, and when I brought the flowers home and set them on my table late that night, I stood and cried as I looked at them beside the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree.

What if we, at all times, including our worst times, showed the rest of the world 
what giving and kindness look like?

What if we all sent out twice as many Christmas cards as we receive...
not removing people from our list when we don't receive from them?

What if we treated every person in our life as if they are important....
not just those who benefit us?

What if our generosity extended to both those in need and those who have plenty?

What if we were to stop soul-searching by looking inward, and realize that our purpose on this earth is to live with a focus on others? Others in our home...others across the street...others in our family...others around the world.

Tulips in December aren't so common, and yet I found out this week they are some of the prettiest flowers I've seen as the Christmas tree lights shine upon them.  
Something unexpected and beautiful.

For most of us, our own giving and kindness isn't as common as we'd like to think.  We give when we have lots, and when we feel like it, and when all is right in the universe.  But how about when we have little, and when we're not up to it, and when everything seems out of control?

Those tulips won't last forever, but their significance will.
May the generosity of heart we feel during the Christmas season extend 
into our darkest times.
Because giving and kindness should be part of every season of the year 
and every season in our lives.

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