We spent the day with a Christmas angel. I’ve never seen one before but I’ve heard of them appearing to people when they are lonely and sad. I’ve heard of their marvelous acts of kindness and love. But I’ve never experienced one myself, until this year.
It began a couple weeks ago, when our plans for Christmas Day crashed and burned, and we were going to be spending the day alone.
Alone-time is good but we’d done that for Thanksgiving when those plans also crashed and burned. It was a restful day, but in the end it lacked satisfaction and became a bit depressing and empty.
In the past, Plan B would have meant spending time with our friends, Chris and Gordon. We were always each other’s Plan B, which often resulted in so much fun that we couldn’t imagine Plan A being comparable. Sadly for us, they left the earth three years ago.
OK, so we accepted Plan A’s demise and rejected the temptation for blame or offense. It was time to shift gears and innovate a new Plan B. We went to separate corners and brainstormed outside the box for a minute. Then we shared the results.
We decided to open the front door indiscriminately and invite anyone who wanted to come to our Open House. We told everyone: friends, relatives and acquaintances. They were all welcome if the “spirit moved them”. And we simply left the results of those casual invitations up to the Spirit.
The menu was simple: a stock pot full of Taco Soup. It was an easy meal on constant “warm” without being a health hazard. The nontraditional aspect appealed to us, too. It was a good Plan B.
But right up to the last moment, it seemed that Plan B might have followed the crash and burn scenario, and I had visions of freezing a whole lot of Taco Soup.
Then it began. Rick and Jeannie came, bringing brother Chuck. We chatted pleasantly but our “party” was a real yawn. I expected them to eat the perfunctory bowl of soup and nicely leave.
Suddenly our angel appeared. Her name was Bobbi, an elderly neighbor. Her better-half was at home sleeping, recuperating from hernia surgery and she was quite bored.
She regaled the ailments of old age, but derided the advice of doctors who don’t listen. Then she promptly praised Grey’s Anatomy. Not the TV show, but rather the tome, which was her idea of a “good read”.
She giggled like a girl as she swooned over her love of her two “boys” and in the next breath matter-of-factly whispered that children were inherently “stupid” even at 50-years-old. She sheepishly apologized and asked humbly and with a simple smile if she should go home now.
Favorite drinks were poured in the kitchen and favorite smokes lit in the back room where they could be enjoyed, shielded from the frigid temps outside.
I laughed, often amazed that the frankness of a 75-year-old could be endearing, and her reference to me as “just a baby” was affirming, coming through the filter of her mature eyes.
Conversation poured freely and uninhibitedly. Animated laughing followed. Soup flowed and Tuxedo cake slices fell freely onto paper plates beside chips and salsa. Music played from the living room and chairs filled in the kitchen and back room.
More friends stopped by and the party was now far from yawning.
Bobbi drank wine and tasted a tiny piece of cake after eating a small bowl of soup. She begged for the recipe and thanked us profusely for our companionship.
Eventually, it became late. We hugged generously, sorry to see it come to an end and yet filled with an over-the-top satisfaction we hadn’t anticipated.
Someone escorted Bobbi home so she wouldn’t trip in the darkness and we promised to come see her next week.
We hadn’t known Bobbi except to wave at her as we drove by. We hadn’t enjoyed her humble, “hair-down” contagious joy. But when she left our party, it was like saying goodbye to a lifelong friend and we were eager to see her again.
Maybe this doesn’t seem like a miracle to you. But it certainly felt like one to me. Joy and laughter had come through a source we hadn’t expected. Its surprise entry was the best Christmas present ever.
She was the perfect gift from Father, an interesting friend who unwittingly became a spark of life in the face of disappointment. He knows my heart so well and answered every unspoken desire by sending an angel to share our Christmas soup.
My thankfulness overflows.