Pamela Stricker: Buttons in the snow

Pamela Stricker: Buttons in the snow

By Pamela Stricker

EDITOR’S NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Holiday 2012 southwest Ohio edition of Salt. It has been updated slightly.

A few years ago, while in a neighboring town, I was ready to head for home when I spotted a little child standing on the curbside looking very alone and crying; a little boy about 5 or 6 years old.

There was a light snow coming down on the already snow-covered ground. I stopped and tromped through the slush and bent down to him.

“What’s the matter, little guy?”

Through his sniffles and tears running down his rosy cheeks, he was able to choke out, “I can’t find my grandma’s house.”

I convinced him to come with me and I would help him.

“What’s your name?” I asked. “Buttons,” he answered softly.

“Well, Buttons, don’t you worry. We are going to find Grandma’s house,” I assured him, and with the help of local police, Buttons made it safely to Grandma’s.

I have thought about that incident so many times. I am mindful that there are other “Buttons” out there that have just lost their way. They are looking for Grandma’s house, a place where they know they are loved, where they belong, where they are safe.

I want to help them find their way home. I pray my eyes and ears and heart are sensitive and open to realize when they cross my path.

Ironically, in a season that celebrates love, joy and peace, we can end up anxious and stressed. Seems like no matter how carefully I try to plan the holidays, no matter how many lists I make, I often end up with a schedule that leaves little space for spontaneity.

There’s a certain book I pull out each year at Christmas. You probably have read it, too. It’s the holiday classic, “A Cup of Christmas Tea.” From the book cover, it says, “A young man’s reluctant visit to share a cup of tea with his old great aunt reminds us all that the simple act of sharing is at the very heart of the Christmas spirit.”

When I have a list as long as my arm I am trying to plow through, the last thing I feel like I can make time to do is stop everything and sit down with someone I care about and visit over a cup of tea for an hour. Think of how many things I could have marked off my “to do” list in that hour! Think of all the things that won’t get done!

That’s how out of whack my perspective can be. Really? Do I want to measure the worth of a relationship based on how much I can or can’t get done? Is that ornament I am making for a gift or spending more time in the store trying to find the just-right something for someone worth as much as spending time with that person?

From the book I referred to earlier, the young man received a note from his great aunt.

It read:

“Of course, I’ll understand

completely if you can’t,

But if you find you have some time,

how wonderful if we

Could have a little chat

and share a cup of Christmas tea.”

Make time for the meaningful. Let’s be open to the folks around us that just need our time.

I wish you all wonderful moments over the next few weeks, full of very special memories.

In the meantime, please pass the Salt!

Salt Magazine