Sunday, December 20, 2009

Excitement...but with a heavy heart...

As we leave for this holiday vacation....heading to the north country for fun and festivities with my family....I am so excited that I could burst. But this year, there is a special little man here in Fernandina Beach that I have come to know just a bit. And while we are eating and drinking and being Merry....he will be spending his Christmas this year - on Amelia Island...In a homeless shelter.

He will spend his Christmas with a homeless grandmother that has been dealt some bad cards. She is angry and struggling and doing her best to make the next day happen for she and her grandson. But alas...her efforts merely afford them a roof over their head and a meal that will suffice, but not fill.

When I asked this little man (age 6) what he wanted from Santa....he promptly told me that "There ain't no such thing as a darn SANTA!" And he looked so sad and so angry when he said it. I shared with him that Santa was a belief and that each person had to choose weather or not they believed in Santa. And that I - personally - believed that there Was a Santa and each year I receive a gift from him. He assured me that his Grandmother had told him there was no such thing. And so I left him with a thought.

Let's do something this Christmas, that is just in your own head. Let's believe this one time. Believe that the magic of Santa and of Christmas is real. And it just may bring some goodies your way. And if it does, then you will know that Santa is real. And if it does not bring goodies your way, then you will know Santa is not real. But I assured him of my true belief and that I felt very positive that he would be proven wrong.

I asked him, "If there is a Santa, what would you wish that he brought you?" And without hesitation, he said, "I ain't never had no remote control cars?" (said with a question in his I wish for that, could I possibly get it?)

And so we went, that day after school, to Walmart with Ben and Kyle. I explained, without using names, what we were there to do. We searched high and low and I allowed Ben and Kyle to decide what was the best one to buy. Ben decided that a homeless person would not have their own floor, so this car needed to be able to go on the grass. The boys were gracious and understanding that this present was not about them, and they didn't even ask for something for themselves.

When we finally picked out the R/C Hum V, Kyle said...we better get lots of batteries because this kid may not be able to get any more when they run out? Good thought...and so that we did.

And we came home, wrapped, and took the gift to the right place...the best assure that it would get to this dear boy on Christmas. And with it was a card from Santa, telling this boy what a good guy he had been this year and how much Santa loves him. And there were other parents in this childs class that also sent in gifts from Santa! He will have Christmas, and can't help but really think that he will BELIEVE in some magic on Christmas day!

It felt good to help just a bit to make holiday magic happen, and I was happy that we could add just a moment of joy to his day. But the long and the short of it is....what we did is just so small. So small in the big picture for a life that sees such a bleak future, that lacks stability and support, and safety, and warmth? I almost don't feel right having a good time in PA when I know that someone that we love suffers so.

Of course this scenario is EVERY DAY, with so MANY MANY people and so MANY MANY Children. And I know that it will never end. But for whatever reason, as I get older, the plight of underprivileged children is weighing more and more heavy on my heart. And when you mix that with the joy of the holiday season and the lack of joy that so many experience, I feel very committed to somehow making a difference in it all. Not sure how, or when - because my own family needs to come first - especially when they are so young and needy themselves. But somehow and someday.

Not even sure why I write this, except to try and get it out in the open and to share it with all of you so that your prayers and your love can help to lift this little boy up in some way. Enjoy your families and all that we have in them! Celebrate the love that is all around you. And take a moment each day to think of the people who have so much less. Who have a life that we can't imagine. And pray for a their future. It will help.

Merry Christmas to you all!!


The Whitledge Family said...

I love this post!! You don't know me, but I am in the process of adopting a little girl from China. I have two boys and am a special needs teacher. It is people like you that truly make Christmas special. I have already bought Christmas for a little girl, but now it is time for my sons to go out find a toy and give it to Christmas wish and I thank you for reminding me. Have a Merry Christmas.

Football & Fried Rice said...


You warm my heart - you are a really wonderful person - always giving back. Giving away when you know you'll never get back in return. You are such a wonderful example for your boys - for all of us!

God Bless you!


Erica said...

I love you, Renee! Your heart is so huge and how amazing that little one must have felt when he opened his gift! You are one of the most kind hearted people I have ever had the honor to know! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!