At the Store
Cost was not the concern. Providing a need, relieving a pressure for others was my focus. Removing the need to think about anything was my motive.
The three-dimensional dragonfly balloon caught my eye. I opted to invest the $7.99 in hopes of bringing a smile -- even if only for a fleeting moment.
The fruit baskets were not ample enough. Whatever I brought must bring a sense of beauty and provision. I asked if there were just "baskets" to purchase, that I could fill with selected fruit. The produce manager brought two baskets - I selected the larger, more attractive one. I filled it with tangerines, apples, bananas and pistachios, while awaiting my deli order's completion. Trisha, the florist of the grocery store, Winn Dixie, assisted me in placing the basket in the clear cellophane wrap, and attractively affixing a golden bow at the neck closure. Attractive indeed. Everything must be perfect.
I dashed to the deli to get the sandwich tray. The clerk explained, "We were out of medium trays, so we used a large." The 24 sandwiches looked meager, at best, loosely spaced in a tray meant for 36. This simply would not do. It screamed, "thrown together", not "abundantly provided"... this would not do. I selected a few roast beef subs, requesting they slice them and add them to the tray. At first, the clerk was hesitant to comply, offering her "seasoned experience." I walked away to get some drinks, disposable cups, coffee & creamers. I did not want anyone to need or want anything and it not be there. I had green tea, herbal tea, coke, diet coke, root beer, ginger ale, sprite, dr. pepper, cherry dr. pepper. Disappointment must not creep its head into this sphere. Not today. I returned to the deli later to submit my request to another attendant -- who graciously complied. When the tray was returned to me, the sandwiches looked like its giver meant it . Does that make sense?
Carrying bags of drinks into the house, I saw her tree. Beautifully decorated in pale blues, silver, white & snowflakes. Just like mine. I set the drinks on the wrap-around counter, returning to get the trays. A gentleman followed to assist me.
As I took the dragonfly balloon from my van, I felt foolish. As if this childish piece could compare or contrast the despair in the house. Still, I hoped the mere sight of it momentarily would bring a smile.
I placed the tray in the kitchen and left, quickly, quietly. I did not want to disturb the solitude. The tree remained on my mind. My husband's call broke my thought, he requested I pick up some 9-volt batteries for the smoke detectors - as ours had incessantly beeped for days. No effort stopped them, except to completely disconnect them - which really is not a great idea with all of the Christmas lights illuminating our front yard, living room, and multiple trees. Even our foyer was lit with strands and strands of white lights softly spotlighting hand-cut snowflakes dangling from the high ceiling. 9-volt batteries? Easy. I could do that.
I was numb. I ached. All at once. Think. Think. Think. Staying focused was challenging. I walked the aisles of the store, searching for the batteries, as the front kiosk only offered aaa, aa, c & d batteries. i picked up an easy bake oven for my daughter and uno cards for my son. Gifts I was going to forego because we were taking the kids to Orlando for a few days. The lack of choice for gifts to be placed under that tree, so much like mine , prompted me to go ahead and be "lush".
Processing the unexpected
I had agreed to provide lunch for this grieving family... not expecting the sorrow to cling to me. Afterall, I barely knew Scott. I had just begun to be friends with Misti, his now-widow. I had been grieved for days since we received the phone call. We knew within hours of its occurence. The news media... didn't know for almost 36 hours after the plane went down, disintegrating everything -- including its sole passenger, Scott, who was also its pilot. I pray they don't release the last calls to the tower.
We saw Scott no less than three times a week - because we went to church together. His brother is our pastor. But outside of that, we did not see him. Occasionally I had run into Misti at a store, and we had chatted a few times at church. We shared similar interests & tastes. As evidenced by her tree. I wonder, "How are others doing who knew Scott well? If I am being impacted this deeply, how in the world are they doing?"
I hear from all who knew Scott what a funny, generous person he was. Indeed, as tales unfolded of his generosity and humor I realized even more what a loss his tragic death is. My heart aches for Misti, for his mom, his brother, dad, sister, nieces, nephews, friends, employees.
I don't know that there is an actual "point" to this hub. Other that when I look at my tree - I think of Misti & her tree. Beautifully situated in an impeccably decorated home... A home void of the love of her life. An ornately speckled tree with no one to place gifts for, or from whom to receive. Except for this: the gift of living life with passion. Scott embraced life. He was successful on many levels - spiritually, relationally, financially... He lived life to the fullest. If we can all take that gift - of embracing life, loving others, giving selflessly -- then perhaps Misti's tree won't seem so barren this year.