… to be a surprise for my coworkers and also for the folks who work at my physical therapist’s office. I made 32 little goodie bags with glittery spider rings, Halloween erasers, spooky monster finger puppets, ooky slimy green hands that stick to the wall, jack-o-lantern notepads, pumpkin and skull yo-yos, little chocolates, monster ring pops, and of course eyeball gumballs. Two will stay here for my munchkinlings, and the rest will be given away. Until now, only one other person knew I was doing this, so it should be fun.
I remember one year on Valentine’s Day, I went around the office leaving those goofy little cards from elementary school on everyone’s desk with a Hershey’s Hug and a Hershey’s Kiss. “Here,” I would say, “have a hug and a kiss!” It made everyone smile.
And of course, one of my most favoritest things in the whole world is to send Christmas cards. I send over 100 every year, and this year I’ll be pushing 200. I love to send them to other countries, love to send them to people who won’t be expecting them, love to send them to family and friends and to you strange people who live inside my computer. I don’t expect cards in return. Of course, I love to get anything in my mailbox that isn’t junk mail (shredded for the hedgehog’s bedding) or bills (dutifully – if sometimes grudgingly – paid). But the joy for me is in the giving and the sending. In picking out cards that I find beautiful. In signing each by hand, trying to write at least one complete sentence in each. In lifting each recipient up to God, if only for that brief moment when I sign the card and seal it in its envelope. In putting them in the mail, hoping I am sending love and light in as many directions as possible.
We just had “Stewardship Sunday” at my parish this past week. The theme of the stewardship campaign this year was that gratitude begets generosity, and generosity begets gratitude, and you have a wonderful cycle of love. (I’ll confess, I misplaced my pledge materials, so I need to stop by the office again and pick up a card to fill out. But shhh – don’t tell anyone, okay? I know our Assistant pops in here every now and then to see what new kind of heresies I’m up to this time.) And I’ll admit, I love to give little gifts to my friends and family. I think the best are not the grand gestures, but the small touches. The little things that say, “I’m thinking about you, and I love you.” And they don’t even have to be things, either. I remember how much my kids loved it on the days I would go to the grocery store without one of them accompanying me. They knew that there would be some small surprise waiting at home. And that they might not notice it at first. It may be their favorite cereal in the pantry, or a special package of cookies from the bakery. It may be seedless red grapes (because somebody doesn’t like the green ones!) or even a cheesy DVD from the five-dollar rack. But they always knew they’d find something special that hadn’t been written on the shopping list.
So… happy Halloween! May your jack-o-lantern light the path for strangers. May the ghouls and goblins that visit your house this year all be the little kind, dressed in costumes and seeking candy. May your candy not run out, even if you saved The Good Stuff for yourself.
And the next morning, may you awake remembering all who have loved you, knowing that they are dancing in God’s kingdom, and have faith and hope that you will join them in the eternal waltz.
And now… though there are many things I should be doing instead, I’m going to go work on finishing up the flute sonata I’m writing.