Sunday, December 20, 2009

A gift given, to be passed on

Yesterday, VonMom forwarded an email to my sister and I that she received from her sister, Renata. Renata is nearly 80, and she's in the process of writing her life story. She's got a very interesting tale to tell, as she grew up in Berlin during WWII. In the email that VonMom forwarded was one of Reni's memories, which she titled her favorite Christmas ever. I asked VonMom if I could repost the story to my blog. She said that I could, and I intend to do that tomorrow. After reading and re-reading the story, I asked my mother if she felt all of it was true. She sighed, and chuckled, then said "Well, Von, it's how she remembers it. So most of it is probably true." Let's keep that in mind tomorrow when you read it. The main point of the story is about giving. And not gifts to loved ones, but a gift to a complete stranger. It got me to thinking. My parents are and always have been quiet givers. Watching them do good things for others while not making a big show of it might have inspired me. I'm not going to go into specifics, because in this I will not look for pats on the back, or atta-girls, but for the past 10 or so years I've been quietly giving myself. Much like Tante Reni, who I rarely see and seldom talk to, I look for a need and I do what I can to fill it. Her story made me feel that even though she's quite a bit older than my mom, and thousands of miles away, and from a truly different time and place, that she's my family. We're very much alike in some understated, blink-and-you'll-miss-them ways. Her story makes me finally feel in the spirit this season. I hope in some way that you either have or will give this season, to someone in need, or a group of people you admire. All I ask is you do it quietly. And then be proud of yourself.