It’s Christmas today!

I know you’re thinking, “Really?” or “Are you sure?” or “Are you insane? That was weeks ago!”

No, I haven’t time-traveled and I’m not insane…at least I don’t think so. I’m talking about presents– the best kind. The presents that we all dream of:

  1. That fit correctly
  2. That you REALLY want
  3. That you will love for a long time

I’ve found that gift cards usually do the trick. 🙂  Just kidding!

Sometimes these most-cherished presents are the ones we give ourselves. Other times, we discover them by giving to other people. Most often, I’ve found that it’s the present in disguise that is the best one of all. Let me show you what I mean by telling a story of a very special person in my life who gave me the best present this year.

A few weeks ago, I got a message that my brother had fallen and broken his shoulder. Ow, for one– I’ve broken my collarbone and know how painful that was! For two, I was wondering how he did it and what would happen next. My mother went to his home to check on him and to take him to his scheduled surgery. When she returned that evening, she was visibly exhausted and said she needed to go back the next day. I offered to go with her because I didn’t want her driving when she was that tired. When I got there, I saw what would have appeared to anyone else as laziness or some other poor behavior. Being the doc that I am, I looked for the deeper meaning and found it: Here was a person in desperate need of help whose life had hit rock bottom. Mom and I did what we could, visited the hospital, and called it a day.

The following week, I took time visiting with my brother to discuss what was happening. His first question to me was, “Are you angry with me?” Right there, I knew that my suspicions were correct. He was at the bottom of a pit and had no idea how to get out. I’ve been in that horrible pit before, and remember what it felt like and how it took someone to give me a hand to get out. “Of course I’m not angry,” I told him. “I just wish you could have told us sooner that something was this wrong.”

That did it. The barrier was broken, and he allowed me to take the lead and help him start on the path to a healthier life. Although we’re not done, he has taken some huge strides. He now owns a kitty called Rosie that he adopted as a rescue. Rosie is now the undisputed queen of the house and has him wrapped around her paw. He has started improving his surroundings and changing himself from the inside out in many ways. It takes monumental courage to come up from the bottom, and he absolutely has it.

So what were my gifts? I got to hear the delighted happy noises emanating from his living room the first time he saw a movie in his own house on a flat-screen TV. I heard the joy in his voice as he described Miss Rosie’s antics. I heard the awe when, after getting HDTV connected, he called and said “OMG– What have I been missing?” Opening his eyes to his possibilities is all the thanks I needed. Then I got these:

All I ask in return is that he pay it forward to someone else who needs it. You’re welcome, David– the gift was worth the effort. You are worth it.

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