During the next several months Ives sent the center several large boxes of art supplies and paper from the office, and every so often on a Sunday afternoon he would go up to run a workshop for the kids, work that Ives much enjoyed, as it got him outside of himself. He did this, either alone or with his daughter or Annie, on and off, for five years, and with a few hours of service, found an agreeable way of passing his time.
One of the ways that Ives fills his time after the death of his son is volunteering at a community center for inner city youths. He donates his time and talents, and, for a few hours, his spirits lift. By thinking of the needs of other children, Ives is able to find some happiness and peace.
This evening, I took my kids to a local dollar store to shop for a charity named Operation Christmas Child. My son and daughter filled two shoe boxes with gifts for impoverished children in places like Eastern Europe and Africa. We had a really good time. My son ran up and down the store aisles, finding notebooks and plush toys. My daughter, a little more methodical, went from section to section, filling her box with things like toothbrushes and a baby doll. When we got to the cash register, my son proudly placed his box on the counter and said to the cashier, "I'm sending Christmas to a little boy who doesn't have Christmas."
I have to admit that I wasn't thrilled with the idea of spending an hour at the dollar store shopping this evening. My wife was supposed to accompany us, but she got called in to work. Operation Christmas Child has always been my wife's holiday tradition with our kids. Tonight, it became my duty by default. As we left the store tonight, I felt really blessed. Yes, my wife and I are struggling financially right now, but, compared to the people who will be receiving our shoe boxes, we are well off. Wealthy even.
So I am thankful for Operation Christmas Child. For the generous hearts of my son and daughter. For my wife forcing me to take my kids shopping. For the money to fill those shoe boxes.
Saint Marty had a real Christmas moment tonight.
Felling a tree
and seeing the cut end--
The crane's legs
have gotten shorter
in the spring rain.
Off the Top of My Head