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A Christmas Tale

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by GaryAyala, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    * M E R R Y * C H R I S T M A S *

    This is the hard part. I'd like to share something profound and Christmasy … but what … A most interesting observation is that those that have the least, are most grateful for what little they do have. While we, with our affluence, never take the time to be thankful for all of our material wealth. So, my words to you this holiday season, is to stop and give thanks, for the abundance that we have received over the course of our lifetime. And perhaps we can share our strengths … our material wealth, our wisdom and our experiences with others less fortunate.

    In Africa I learned a valuable lesson. It was West Africa, business associates and I were being shown the countryside when our car broke down (again). It was late, and the nearest village didn’t have a BMW water pump. The village was so non-descript that it wasn’t even on our maps. So, we were stranded for the weekend. Weekend life in suburban Africa is as exciting as the rest of the week. Although the village lacked German auto parts, it did have a Catholic Mission and on Sunday morning I went to Mass. The Church was French and pewless as well as window less. The heat and dust poured through the portals where stained glass should have been. I hung in the back as the room soon filled up with locals in their Sunday best. More of an observer than a participant, I melted into the crowd, taking a few snaps of interesting faces. (That's the photo tie-in.)

    Then I saw her… the mother in rags. Please note that this was Africa and everybody was dressed in thread bare and worn attire, but this scarecrow of a woman was in rags. And she had two children with her, dressed also in rags. Life hadn’t been very gracious to this overly thin woman. As in all churches, the time came for the offerings. The Catholic services typically use baskets for donations, this Mission used a woven reed affair, about the size of a large serving plate, dipping slightly in the center. When the platter made its way to this poorest of the poor, I thought to my materialistic American self “… Boy, this ought to be good…”. The mother in rags took the woven basket, placed it on the ground, and stepped into the basket with the rest of the offerings. Back lighted by shafts of light hitting the floating dust, she raised her eyes from her interlocked hands up to heaven. At the end of her prayer she stepped from the basket and passed it on. It was a lesson that I have never forgotten.

    Merry Christmas,
    • Like Like x 15
  2. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    Wonderful story, Gary. No photos necessary for this one - the words do the trick.

    Merry Christmas to you too!
  3. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    Thank you. I have the image stored in my mind, too. :) 

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 App
  4. JudyM

    JudyM Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 5, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    It is indeed a time for giving thanks, and also for regaining our perspective. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. Merry Christmas.

  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Thanks for commenting John, Hyubie and JudyM and again, Joy and Peace.
  6. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    Very moving. I cannot remember reading anything in the last few years that came close to the profundity of this tale.

    Thank you for sharing.
  7. Thanks Gary. Merry Christmas
  8. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    One of the rare occasions where the words are worth a thousand pictures. Thank you Gary, and Happy Christmas. :smile:
  9. Oli88

    Oli88 New to Mu-43

    Nov 27, 2011
    Beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing!
  10. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Thank you Gary. Have a blessed Christmas.
  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Thanks Gary.

    Merry Christmas.
  12. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Thank you all for reading and commenting. Now lets get ready for 2012 and the end of the world. :smile:

  13. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Legend Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    By brother in law said his desk calendar only goes to Dec 31, 2011, so that means the world ends this weekend ;) 
  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Is he Mayan?
  15. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Well, if we all keep speculating, one day someone will be right! Nothing lasts for ever and even if nothing terrible happens before, we know that one day the sun will burn out. On an individual basis the end of our personal worlds can be predicted in a much shorter timescale but hey, that's what we have a God for, right? :wink:

    Personally, I'm too concerned about living to worry about dying - I'm here for a good time, not a long time! :biggrin:
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