Saturday, December 10, 2011

Unexpected Rewards

     A huge package arrived at my doorstep yesterday. It came from  Williams Sonoma. I know little about this store except it is very expensive and exclusive and I could not imagine who would be sending me an enormous gift from such a place.
     I put the box on the counter and went back to work. I had called Comer, our elderly friend at the Nursing Home earlier in the week to suggest a Christmas Lights outing. I thought his wife Evelyn, even with Alzheimers eating away at her brain, would enjoy looking for homes covered with Christmas decorations. I had already put two Christmas music CDs in the car, knowing that Evelyn might not speak, but she would sing.
     "Hello," croaked Comer, answering the phone.
     "Comer! You don't sound so good."
     "I feel awful. Thought I was going to die."
     "Oh dear! I am so sorry! What is it?"
    "Feels like some flu, or bad sinus infection.I haven't left my bed in three days."
"Oh my! Well I was calling to invite you out to look at Christmas lights this week...but maybe we should wait til next week?"
"Yes, I couldn't go anywhere this week. I feel too poorly. I am getting better. I should be fine by next week."
"I know in the past Evelyn doesn't do well at night. Do you think she would be ok if we go out in the evening but we will go as soon as the sun sets?" Evelyn, like many people afflicted with Alzheimers, would sometimes become agitated at night. At least she used to. Since moving to the new facility where Comer was just down the hall, she had been doing much better emotionally.
"Oh, I don't know. You know she never speaks at all anymore. Still sings though."
"Well I have lots of Christmas music for her to sing. Listen, why don't you check with her nurse and let me know? We could go next week if you are feeling better."
"Oh, I am sure I will be," he said.
"Well then you rest, and I will call you next week. We will get yummy food and hot chocolate and go find beautiful homes dressed up for Christmas."
"Thank you darling," he said, his voice gravelly and strained.
     I hung up and returned to my computer woes. I had developed a GoogleGroup list for the Homeschool Ski Club I was forming, and already there were problems. Half the people had not received the invitation to join the Google Group, which meant I had to go back to my inbox, find every one who had written but not joined the group and then try to find another way to add them to the Group. I had been at it for hours.
     Volunteer work just doesn't pay, I thought. I glanced at the huge Sonoma Williams box. What could that be, and who had sent it? I didn't want to spoil a Christmas surprise by opening the card, but curiosity was overcoming my hesitance. I put it under the tree and my forehead grazed the sparkling Crystal Squirrel ornament. It spun on a silver thread, little blue gems in the eyes shimmery points of color. Every year, Asherel and I go out to look for one crystal ornament to add to our tree. My tree is decorated in all crystal clear onrnaments and white lights. It is very elegant. My mom had a tree like that, and I loved the simple elegance of it, so continued that tradition in our own home. Asherel and I usually take quite a while to agree on the yearly ornament, but as soon as we saw the squirrel, we both knew this was the one we wanted.
     "It reminds me of Squirrel Nutkin!" I said happily. Nutkin was a baby squirrel that had fallen from a tree in our yard a few years ago, rescued by Lucky from the freezing rain, and then restored to health by us. Ultimately, since he was only 6 weeks old when we saved him, we brought him to a rehab specialist who released him safely to the wild when he was fully grown. Asherel and I had loved our few weeks nursing the little baby who had almost died back to health.
     "Yes, let's get that one," said Asherel.
     I smiled at my little squirrel ornament and the happy memories it evoked.Then I sobered as I looked back at the computer and rubbed my wrist.The tendonitis from all my computer work was flaring and every word I typed hurt. But I had to fix the issues with the skiing google group. I had volunteered, and like it or not, I had to follow through now. I glanced at the mysterious package under the slowly swinging crystal squirrel. I could stand the suspense no longer. I opened the card on the giant expensively wrapped box.
     "Thank you for your kindness to my parents," the card said. It was from Comer and Evelyn's daughter.

Luke 14:

13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

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