Filled with fatigue Joy rode the tiny scooter in Walmart. She had severe disc disease and other major health problems that made this scooter a real blessing for her. Blessings seemed a great distance from her mind as she made her weary way.
This was the first Christmas in twenty-seven years that she had not spent with her beloved husband. Joy believed that her husband embodied all the joyous celebration that Christmas should hold. He had actually played the part of "The ghost of Christmas Present," in a professional production of "The Christmas Carol," for several years.
Scooter slow she passed what seemed liked infinite aisles filled with items that normally would have brought her Holiday Cheer. She swallowed a giant lump in her throat. Tears began to spring into her eyes.
Joy tried very, very hard to focus on the blessings that were left in her life. Two beautiful daughters twenty-three and twenty-five were up towards the top of her gratitude list. Her beloved ninety-three year old Mother was also at the top on that list. Thanks were extended to God for her belief that she would be together with Nyle when her life was finished.
This was the first. The first Christmas without her beloved husband, Nyle. He had died the year before on January 11. He was desperately ill during his last Christmas. Still he had found ways to bring joy to all of us his family.
The leaden sorrow that seemed to stab at her soul forced any feelings of joy or celebration away. Christmas lights and ornaments appeared as cruel reminders of what she had lost. Her tears spilled over creating two pathways of pure silver sorrow on her cheeks. How would she carry on Nyle's traditions that made Christmas so important in their family? When he passed she was only left with a teeny, tiny Social Security Disability income. She was ever so grateful to have at least that, but it was far from enough for necessities, never mind the added expenses of Christmas.
Now a quiet sob or two joined the tears. Joy was determined to buy a few groceries in spite of her flowing tears. Her cupboard was bare. She tried to just look straight ahead. Losing her composure in a public place was humiliating to her. It was bad enough that she needed help financially, she didn't wish to need emotional help as well!
Then out of seemingly nowhere a young woman stood in front of her. The woman was holding a cherubic three year old boy by the hand. I did not know the woman. I had never seen her before. With an enormous grin she said, "I need to give you this."
As quickly as she had appeared, she disappeared into the busy, bustling, crowds of Christmas time. Dumbfounded, Joy looked at the envelope. Slowly she opened it. Inside were two crisp twenty dollar bills, and one crisp ten dollar bill. $50.00? Joy tried to see the young woman to thank her, but she was gone.
So was Joy's load of sorrow. She still desperately longed for her husband, Christmas was not assured by $50.00, but her heart had been filled with the most important part of Christmas. The most precious gift that her husband had always brought to Christmas was to remember God's love. This selfless gift from a young stranger to an grieving woman was just what Joy needed to remind her that God's love was NOT gone. Neither was the joy that her husband taught her.
Whistling "Joy to the World," her favorite Christmas song, Joy went her way.