Thursday, December 10, 2015

Baskets of Christmas Blessings by Paula Rose Michelson

It seemed that I would never be able to get out of bed again. If I had enough energy I would, on occasion, stumble from my bedroom to the den and turn on the TV. That took all then energy I had. So it was either watch the TV or take a shower. In my book, it doesn’t get more basic that that unless you’re talking about food – and food was one level below me and I couldn’t walk down the steps. On one rare occasion when I tried, I discovered that even if I could get down, I couldn’t get up the stairs again.
            Many days I lay in my bed and looked around my room, which seemed to grow smaller that longer I stayed there. But that wasn’t as bad as it could get if my eyes caught sight of the thirteen Christmas baskets I had been preparing as a surprise before I got sick. It seemed to me that they stood there daring me to finish them. Since I knew that was impossible, I tried to look the other way and pretend they weren’t there.
            However, the day my friend Terrie entered my room my pretending changed. She knew I was to weak to speak and told me to say nothing cause she hadn’t come to visit but planned to clean my house. I was mortified that as sick as she was she was able to do what I could not. But I was more upset when she saw the baskets and asked, “What are these doing here?”
            I closed my eyes, pretended I was asleep, and heard her leave to tidy the rest of our home.
            Two hours later, she peeked in. “I sure wish I knew what you wanted to do with all those bananas,” she said.
             “Are they rotten?” I rasped.
            “I knew you would say something before I left!”
            Aware that I had uttered my first words in over a week, I smiled.
            Terrie smiled back. “Were you planning on baking?”
            “I planned to make banana bread, and place the loaves, a devotional, and a candle in the baskets,” I whispered. I pointed towards two boxes next to my bedside table that held my purchases. 
            Terrie walked to the boxes, opened the lips, looked everything over, and nodded towards the thirteen baskets I'd lined with cheery Christmas fabric, and filled with a few gifts. “Looks like we have a project to complete!” she exclaimed. She hurried downstairs and I could hear her keys jangle as she prepared to leave. “Don’t worry about a thing! I’ll bake the banana bread then we will load everything into the car and I’ll drop them off for you. By the way, who are they for?”
            I was crying so hard, I could not answer. She must have thought something was wrong because she hurried to the loft. When she found me wiping away my tears, she sat on my bed, and waited for me to respond. I sniffled back my tears and blew my noise. “I planned to drop them off at the homes of the people who work behind the scenes at the church, the card was to read, “'A Christmas Blessing from Jesus',” nothing more.”
            A look of pure joy came over Terrie’s face. “It’s alright. I’ll find a way to take you with me when I drop them off so you can make sure there taken to the right homes.”
            “Terrie, you are a treasure!”
            “Yep…You and me both!”
            “No,” I said. I relaxed into my pillows glad that God had given me the strength to share, and happy that Terrie wanted to help. “I am just fulfilling Gods call.”
            “Me too,” she said. She stood and held up the rotten bananas.
            “Hand me my purse and I'll give you some money to buy whatever you need.”
            “I don’t need your money!” she insisted. Before I knew what was happening she stormed out of my room mumbling to herself, clearly upset by my offer. Even though she had left in a huff, I knew Terrie would help me complete what I had begun because she was someone who seldom let her moods affect her commitments.
            When my husband came home he found me elated, because I'd realized that Terrie was the thirteenth recipient. I had told him that I bought the thirteenth basket not knowing who was to receive it. Ron understood my concern when I shared Terrie’s kind offer to cover the cost of the baking, for our friend was an unemployed senior who had a myriad of health issues. She lived on unemployment, and invited others needier than her to live in her home rent free, she continued to tithe to the church, and was always available to help.
            However, it was later that night when I discovered that since Ron's mother was much like Terrie, he was comfortable with her offer. “Since Terrie’s a great cook, I hope I get a big loaf of banana bread,” he said.
            I shot up, adjetated. 
            “What’s the matter Paula? Are you feeling worse?”
            I opened my mouth, but could not answer. I was so upset that it took Ron a quarter of an hour to calm me down enough for me to explain, “Terrie weights about ninety five pounds, she's under five feet. I weigh one thirty five and am five feet five. You have trouble helping me downstairs. How is she going to get me into her car?”
            “She can’t. With her bad leg, the difference in your sizes and as weak as you are you’d better tell her you can’t go.”
            “How can I do that? She’ll know I’m lying.”
            “No she won’t,” Ron said. He fell asleep.
            Now that I realized the folly of our plan, I was unable to sleep. As much as I wanted to do what my husband suggested, I knew I couldn't get away with telling a fib. Besides, I thought what a horrible way to say thank you to a friend who offered to help me fulfill Gods Christmas Blessing for others!
            I tossed, turned, and I must have disturbed Ron. “Call me when she arrives. I’ll come home and help you get settled in her car,” he said.
            “Thank you.” I smiled as I drifted off to sleep.
            When I woke, the house was empty and the sun was up. I struggled more than I usually did to get through my morning routine, which consisted of showering, brushing my teeth, and getting dressed. Although Ron had left an apple and some string cheese on my bedside table, I was too weak to eat. I knew I'd never make it downstairs even if Ron where there to help.             
            However, I never got a chance to call Ron, for Terrie insisted that we could manage and we did. Somehow, she filled all the baskets, loaded them into her trunk, got me downstairs and settled in the back seat, and wrapped me in warm blankets. Then off we went leaving Baskets of Christmas Blessings in our wake just as God had told me to do. Every home we stopped at received theirs, complete with prayer, and Terrie made sure I saw it all from the backseat of her old green jalopy.
            At the end, there was only one basket left. Terrie looked at the basket, which was unlike the others. “My goodness,” she said. “I don’t remember there being a basket with an additional gift in it when I was at your place yesterday.”
            “Oh, you must have picked that one up by mistake.”
            “I don’t think so.” She counted the number of homes where baskets had been delivered.” 
            “Don’t worry,” I said. “Ron will deliver this one for me.”
            “I sure hope you know who it’s for,” she said. She got behind the wheel. “After all it’s not everyday that some lucky lady is given the gift of everything you gave the others, and Shalimar perfume!”
            “Oh, do you like that fragrance?” I asked.
            “It’s my favorite."
            I am glad to hear that, I thought aware that Ron had placed the perfume I'd bought to gift someone with in Terrie’s Basket of Christmas Blessing.
            Long after Terrie had gone to bed, Ron delivered our friends Basket of Blessing as I watched and thought what a sweet blessing it is, to give a blessing to one who blesses.


  1. This is such a beautiful memory of yours, Paula. You're a fantastic writer.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Sue. Since you've enjoyed both blog post you might want to follow this blog, which you can do by finding Facebook's NetworkedBlog on the right sidebar and hitting the"join" button at the bottom. Also, you might want to share this post on your Facebook page.

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