There is a generosity that is contagious and that season is upon us. You could be a giver and cause a cascade of giving to continue.
This is evidenced by the books that come through the back door. Just this week Pam Chaney brought her sacks to help us keep our Little Free Library filled, giving daily to the readers who pass by, stop and choose a selection. Perhaps they are building their own libraries for their families to enjoy, or once read, or finding just that special one to give a friend. Sometimes they pass them back to us.
This giving is seen where warm coats hang on a chain-link fence and in the private ways we choose to give of our time, a simple letter to a person locked away from freedom or the real letters we write to children in our lives. As we pause to remember the value, the joy when the mail arrives with your name hand written on a letter.
November is on us and my walnut trees have gifted all they will and it is no longer dangerous to walk beneath them. The pecan trees have company this month beneath their open leafless canopy, as their treasures are collected to enjoy as the food they are, or as the commodity they also can be.
When working at Will Rogers Junior High one fall a quarter of a century ago, there were so many children who had experienced death in their lives, that I organized a grief group that met after school in the most special place in the building: the teachers' lounge. As I write now, I am not sure how many times a month we met, but as the weeks passed, we got closer. I remember each of their young faces and the who then missing from their lives. But as the holidays approached, their first without that loved one, there were those thoughts of gift-giving.
There are lots of ways to give and what we did was to choose a person to tell what we wished we could give them. I still to this day love doing this. If I find a beautiful "thing" in a magazine, I love to rip it out and gift-wish it to just the right person. It doesn't cost a penny to share a wish, not for ourselves but what we wish for our others.
These great losses inspired the Candlelighting Ceremony that Indian Club sponsored for the remainder of my employment with the school district. The call went out In December, and the date set for the event, always the evening of the last school day before Christmas. Those who had most recently experienced a death in their lives worked hardest to prepare the little booklets with each of the names of their loved ones. Each name was spoken aloud and a memory shared by those who attended. We were always a small group, lighting those candles for our lost ones. The gift we gave them was remembering. What we gave each other was that time to be gently there. Each year the little booklet grew with new pages because we kept all who had been remembered from the year before.
I came across one of the little booklets with the red ribbon in the upper left corner and opened it and a flash of memories came, the faces lit from the light of the candles and the singular voice reading a name and telling a story that brought both a tear and a smile. I remember the places we held these events: on the steps at Miami High School with the luminaries lining the sidewalk and the candles burning inside the paper sacks filled with sand, at the Intertribal Council, downtown in the Mini-Mall. That one I will never forget as Megan Brown who had lost her dear grandmother sang Amazing Grace and her voice carried through the entire structure.
This year as last, our remembrances may be joined physically with fewer in our circle as the virus lingers and continues to suck the life out of our friends. This time last year without the possibility of a vaccine to hold it off, this year we are losing ones who may have waited just too long to take it, or the few for whom it failed to protect. We still are the carriers and we must remember our best gift is the life we don't take from others.
Walk gently on the earth and leave only footprints. I hope each of you will gift your time, your compassion to those near to you or those afar.
It costs nothing to be kind.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim