Loss and hope

My office consists of a group of 56 amazing people. We are diverse in so many different ways. We represent several different religions, races, genders, ethnicities, socio economic status', marital status', sexual orientations, eye color, hair color, sizes, stles, etc...

The one common bond we have? The love for our state and the people in it.

As an office, we decided to "adopt" two homeless families. They are both single mother families. One mother has a boy who is 4, and a girl who is 5. They live in a local homeless shelter. The second family has twin boys who are 6 and another boy, who is 4. They lost their home due to a fire and are living with random family and friends. How could we not help them?

We got a list of their needs (most of them clothes, shoes and underwear)and set out to collect donations from colleagues. The generosity we encountered was overwhelming. Not one person refused to give anything or even said they couldn't. We are all pulled in so many directions during the holidays, I really thought there would be some who just couldn't do any more. But, because it was for our office, the camaraderie was there. Everyone showed up and it was amazing.

So, off I went shopping...for 4 hours, for two little boys. The experience was heartbreaking and warming, soul shaking and haunting. All I could think about was the fact that I just HAD to buy a new dress for the Christmas party and that my whole life goes downhill if I run out of my $13 eyeliner for just one day. How shallow am I?? I'm really not down on myself. I try to do a lot for people. I love to volunteer and try to bring joy to people's lives, especially to less fortunate children. I just know that my life could be a little less self-centered. I could wear one of the many dresses I have in my closet. I could not have a meltdown if I couldn't make it to the mall to buy my eyeliner and I could certainly learn to relax and not be so concerned about the small issues that come about in my life.

I have a wonderful grandmother who is very wise. While she is sympathetic and kind, she is also pretty no-nonsense. She's been through a lot and she has had to learn how to handle the inevitable trials of life. One of the best pieces of advice I have ever gotten from her is that when life gets you down..count your blessings. It's not necessarily what I wanted to hear at the time, but it has made me realize in certain circumstances that, no, it's really not that bad. So, in the holiday spirit and since I am in a gratuitous mood after my fund collecting and shopping experience, I thought I would list a few of my very special blessings for you (but mostly for me).

I have a home with readily available heating and cooling.
I always have the option of having a filling, warm and good meal.
So many clothes and shoes that I am actually embarrassed.
A job that I love going to every day, where I am treated well and fairly.
The right to vote, freely worship whatever God I choose, and protest my government peacefully, if I wish.
Many friends and family that love me and would do anything for me.
A reliable vehicle that I can fill with (sometimes) reasonably priced gas.
Amazing health insurance.
The ability to walk, see, hear, be in control of my emotions, and not depend on anyone else for any of those actions.
And many, many, many more...

Update: I just wrote a check for $180 for a Sugar Bowl ticket. While I am very excited about this adventure and so proudof my Hogs, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of guilt for spending so much money on something that, let's face it, is so trivial. I only justify it by remembering that it is okay to have fun and it serves as a good reminder that I only need to work harder and be more thankful for what I have.

So, I leave with you a quote from the great Philosopher, Plato...

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle than you."

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