Wednesday, December 29, 2010

All The Way Back





When I was a child out shopping with my father in the busy paced Christmas season, my small steps could never match his giant ones.  For every large stride he took, I had to take three awkaward leaps to keep in step.  It was like a little red bird flying next to an eagle with his massive wing span, there was a great difference in our flight, and like the eagle my father had a great wing span.  When we were finished at the store, and the car was loaded up, he would always push the shopping cart all the way back into the store where it belonged.  I would sit in the car waiting and wondering why he took the time to do such a good deed when he had so many more important things to do.  At the time, I could not comprehend how his example of giving of himself, even in such a small way, would impact my view of the meaning of giving later in life.
Last week marked the beginning of the holiday shopping season.  Once again as an adult, I found myself participating in the pyretic frenzy of shoppers bumping into one another trying to attain our prized merchandise that would make the perfect gift for that special someone.  The chaos of that kind of interaction can steal the cheer right out of the holiday spirit. So when I was leaving the sale, and could not get to my car due to several carts left all in the way, it was at that moment, that I realilzed how in the effort to get everything right, we seem to get it all so wrong!
Every year at this time I become torn between the joy of the spirit of giving, and the drudgery of getting everything done on my Christmas to do list.  Time, like lightening, flashes past me, and I just follow it in vain, like the thunder with an artless thud!  However, if I stop myself in my tracks, and think all the way back when I was a child at Christmas, there are certain memories that come rushing back like a prodigal son longing to be held by the father once more.  None of these thoughts hold any significance to anyone but me.  There are no favorite gifts, new bikes, go go boots, or colored television sets.  There are only precious moments spent with loved ones that repair my vision of what truly matters.  Sometimes we get so caught up in the race reaching for the prize, that we forget the true purpose it held in the beginning.  The holiday season is not about how many presents we can give, but giving in celebration of the priceless gift  of hope God gave us all the way back on the first Christmas in Bethlehem.  In times like these, I often have to be remimnded that the greatest gifts of all are free.
Many years have passed since I was eight years old out shopping with my father.  He has long since passed away, and I have spent many Christmas seasons out shopping on my own.  Sometimes I have waisted too much money, but I realize more and more as I get older that I have never been waisting my time,  for no act of kindness is ever in vain.  The real gifts that I was given growing up stay with me always, and they reflect out to others, like ripples in a pond.  When I recall the memories of my father, it is the times we shared together, and how his integrity etched its place upon my heart that hold true.  Just like our Father in Heaven has given us an eternal hope that our hearts can always hold.
This life is full of many struggles; errands that must be done, and decisions both mundane and colossal to be made.  Through it all, let us not forget what truly matters most.  Sometimes when I am out shopping, and my father is on my mind, as he so often is this time of year, I will finish loading my car with gifts, and take the time to push the cart all the way back to the store where it belongs.  It always fills me with an inner peace, and the sweet vision of my father's smile.  I know I will never be able to fill my father's shoes, but I am certain that I shall always try.


This is an essay I wrote for Christmas "all the way back" in 2007.  I hope that everyone here in the blogosphere had a wonderful Christmas full of the blessings of the heart, and that the new year is one full of happiness and hope.

28 comments:

  1. Carrie- from the photo and the Maya Angelou quote- your piece segues seamlessly. I love reading memories with a purpose and yours is just wonderful. Happy New Year!

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  2. what a wonderful walk down memory lane with you

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  3. a beautiful essay and tribute to a father who obviously taught by example, which is the truest gift any parent can give to their children in my opinion. Thank you for sharing this with us, carrie. It made my spirit smile :)

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  4. It was like a little red bird flying next to an eagle with his massive wing span, there was a great difference in our flight, and like the eagle my father had a great wing span.

    this is gorgeous carrie. absolutely.

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  5. An enjoyable read Carrie.
    Happy New Year to you and yours.
    Pamela

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  6. Dads take such long strides.

    Nice One Shot, Carrie!

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  7. You are such a loving woman, sister daughter... writing from the haert like this... when family is concerned is really moving and oh so sweet
    :)

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  8. oh carrie this is beautiful - your father must have been an amazing man. thanks for sharing this - i loved the image with the little red bird and the eagle..

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  9. Brings back lots of memories :) A beautiful piece

    The Arrival, book one of the BirthRight Trilogy, available on Amazon 1.1.2011
    www.damselinadirtydress.com

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  10. "...no act of kindness is ever in vain." You have expressed this deep truth so beautifuly...and the thing about kindness that I also love is that it blooms and as the bloom fades, the seeds scatter and more kindness spreads.

    happy new year!

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  11. gorgeous gorgeous writing.

    I think you are very wise indeed.

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  12. This is so nice, what wonderful memories of your father. Your words speak of peace, joy and what's really important.
    Andie

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  13. Great memories and it is true your father's kindness was not in vain - he created you!

    Thanks for sharing and for visiting my site (that was kindness as I am new)

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  14. thank you...you nailed it...the things that are really important...i hope you had a wonderful christmas and new year as well...

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  15. Carrie, thanks for sharing this. This was the first year one side of my family chose not to give each other gifts but instead simply enjoy the time together, eating, laughing--just hanging out. Your message is right on. :)

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  16. did you take that picture? it's beautiful. makes me want to transport myself there... and a great post, i agree with your thinking. wish i could hammer this into some people's head i tell ya, heee heee heeee

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  17. Happy New Year
    I enjoy reading your posts ,its like each word is felt within ,very amazing feeling



    http://soulwanderingsoul.blogspot.com/

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  18. 'no act of kindness is ever in vain' I'm going to remember that!
    this is a beautifully written essay with the true spirit of the meaning of life in every word

    thank you

    the best to you in the New Year!

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  19. So much beauty and promise in your words ... the steps of a father set the measure for many of us.

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  20. I love the message and the sentiment you shared!
    We all can make a difference and the gift of hope is the best! Your words are lovely and it is such a wonderful message to share. I too, lately keep thinking of the ripple in the pond. We all can make it a better pond~

    Happy New Year to you n' yours! I look forward to more great posts from you, next year~

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  21. The best is free..and we must hold close to the dear ones, whether in reality or in memory..things do change, and sometimes life is puzzling. But hope floats!!!
    Best for the New Year!!

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  22. I so love stories like this, that look back - the gifts that stay with us.........looking forward to reading more of your wonderful writing in the coming year, Carrie. All the best.

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  23. Lovely tribute to your father....it takes many years for us to appreciate what our parents did for us and how they got through it....I am just catching up after Christmas in reading....blessings to you Carrie and a Blessed New Year...so happy to have met you this past year...bkm

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  24. Lovely Carrie, as always. Looking back sets us for the path of the future.

    Happy New Year!

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  25. Sweet memories with your father. Happy new Year!

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  26. Thank you so much one and all....you all are such a blessing to me, and I to look forward to reading your words through out the new year! :-)

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  27. I am confident your father was always proud of you as your little hopping strides lengthened to match his and the simple act of returning the trolley speaks volumes about your values (and his).

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"Our best thoughts come from others." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

....and they lived happily ever after.....

....and they lived happily ever after.....
The End.