“No, Dad,” protested his beautiful child. “We don’t need them.”
“Take them,” he insisted, “and give them away.”
And so she did.
This beautiful daughter, whose name was Amy, and her generous husband Ken left two of the trees on the back porch of a family by the name of Hislop. Taped to the trees (duct tape works miracles at all times and in all seasons!) was a sign that said, “Keep one! And make someone’s day. Give the other away.”
The mother of this blessed family was simultaneously gratified and perplexed by the gift. She loved the trees but was unsure to whom the second one should be given. She secretly considered keeping it—the pair looked so lovely together—but decided that was not a viable option. If she did keep the second tree she would never be able to display the two trees together because the generous givers of the gift would know right away how selfish she really was…. So she had to “make someone’s day” and give the second one away. But to whom?
For a week many names passed through her mind but none stuck. Eventually she recognized that Patti’s name was the only one to frequently reappear in the mental parade and realized that Patti was to be the recipient.
Sadly the realization of the identity of the recipient did not immediately equate to the actualization of the task. The Hislop mother, called Teresa by many, had tried unsuccessfully to make contact with Patti for several weeks and, certain that the Christmas season was busy for Patti, was uncertain about being able to find her at home. The uncertainty of finding her at home added to Teresa’s uncertainty about being able to find her home (getting lost in multi-unit complexes is one of the Hislop mother’s talents) equated to the tree sitting on the Hislop back porch for another week.
Reminded of her negligence every time she exited the back door, Teresa finally decided to take the tree to Patti’s work, a place she was confident she could find and a place where she was confident she could find Patti.
SIDE NOTE: She was confident she could find Patti’s place of work because Patti worked at the hospital that was Teresa’s second home in December.
Carrying the tree, Teresa walked confidently into Patti’s place of work. She did not see her there and so asked, confidence unshaken, “Where is Patti?” “She’s not here” was the reply. NOOOOO!!!!
“Is she okay?” Teresa asked. “NO” was, again, the reply. “She is home with kidney stones,” Teresa was told.
Taking the tree, Teresa departed. That evening, tree in hand, Teresa went to Patti’s place, certain that this time she would find her. And she did. Find her. Alone. Sitting in the dark. Having not eaten anything all day. And in tremendous pain. Did I mention alone? All alone.
But not unknown. God knew. Months earlier He inspired a kind craftsman to create a Christmas tree to give to his beautiful daughter to leave on the back porch of a clueless friend to take, eventually, to Patti at the time when she needed, not the tree itself, but the attention and love of the friend who brought it, a friend who would have never known she needed attention and love had she not had the tree to deliver.
God knows Patti. And He knows me. And He knows you. And He loves us all.