As you may have seen or participated in, I held a book giveaway last month asking anyone and everyone to answer a series of questions on happiness. It was an especially popular giveaway of my book Happy for the Rest of Your Life and received many touching responses. But there is one in particular told in such detail and at such length that it makes the perfect blog post with which to begin the holiday season.
In response to my question, “What memory makes you happy, and why?” Sharon M. wrote this:
It amazes me that in our society (set to 70 mph) it seems we cannot even take a breath, before the Mega-Merchants start rushing us all forward.
I need to be still, to remember things most cherished. Two, stand out.
The Christmas I emerged from Texas Children’s hospital, with my 9-year-old son, with the news that I was recieving my Christmas Miracle, and my son would live! I cried with relief and Joy, for days.Crowds were rushing, much as they are beginning to now, and I was conflicted — euphoric on one hand, and lost as to my next step, rushing into an Albertson’s store, past a ‘Junkie’ shaking with tremors, right in front of the door. People were irritated by him, throwing their pennies into his guitar case with looks of disgust. This was Nashville, Tennessee, so his skilled but shaking guitar picking was something heard on every street corner.
That same year I would remember the Christmas Season in a different light, from that time forward.
Out of nowhere, yet somewhere familiar, I heard an inner voice telling me to give him more than pennies. It was a huge amount for me, and I quarreled with my own emotionally- charged heart. No, it couldn’t be the voice of a Holy God, just my emotions run-amuck at Christmas. And just as I argued, the unction came so loud and large, that I could not miss it.
I whirled around with my son in tow and plopped a rather large bill into the velvet case. It seemed, if only for a moment, that time stood still. The picking stopped, and the man looked straight up to the sky, crying with great sobs.
Shaking and hot tears streaming, he said, ‘Oh Father God, I haven’t gone too far, you’re still there, Oh my God, You’re still there.”
And the next thing I knew, he was picking Christmas hymns and tunes: ‘Did I know this one, did I know that one…?’ Intermittantly, he was sobbing as he began to sing, and then asked if I wanted to join him. My son took the lead, and the next moments we were sitting on the wet asphalt right at the entrance to the store…and singing!
People began to circle around us and join in. The rushing stopped, and for nearly half an hour we were all caught and held fast in that wonder that really is Christmas.
I told the man, that he’d best put his money into his pocket.
It was time to go, but I will never forget, passing a man, caught by his addictions, and yet one of God’s own! Wow, what Grace, and what wonder. I saw it, I heard it, I sat and watched as the vortex drew more and more people to join in song…and to be still.
I saw the true meaning of Christmas, there on the asphalt, and I will never forget that sight for as long as I live!
I believe that for the first time, I really understood. My son would live, this man who had lost his way, heard from God in a tangible way, and we are all offered that moment of Saving Grace, because A Living Loving God really came to this earth and offered us himself.
What a gift!
Yes, I need time to be still and to remember what Memory(s) make me Happy, and to revel in them.