Growing up poor, I was taught never to waste anything. If I took out too much food and left some on my plate, Mama would chide me. “There are starving children somewhere who would just love to have that.” I always envisioned an angel flying to the other side of the world. The angel would be carrying my leftover food to a starving child. My vision always made me feel better. So keeping candles in a votive cup just for looks seemed normal. I couldn’t waste them foolishly; they might be needed if the power went off.
For years I had silk flowers in vases and baskets. I’m brave enough now to cut flowers from my yard to bring inside. A vase of fresh cut roses, phlox, and variegated ivy will brighten the darkest day. If they wilt in a week or so it’s okay. Their work is done; they brought beauty to someone having a bad day. They sparked a lovely memory in the heart of an Alzheimer’s patient. Maybe their short term memory has left them but they stare at the roses and reach out to touch the petals. They sniff them and say, “I had some like that in my yard.”
I have been given some beautiful Christmas boxes with my gift tucked inside. There are three sitting on a shelf in my utility room. Can I part with them? Am I saving them for a special occasion? Why not give them to someone special instead.
And that’s one of my New Year’s resolutions. Most of the ones I’ve made won’t be kept. But this I can do. Keep burning my candles; no special occasion needed. Take fresh cut flowers to friends and shut-ins. Send a special card to someone going through deep water. Call someone who is lonely or bereaved. Invite some friends to a tea party and be nine years old again. Take walks and admire all of God’s creation. Forget a wrong and forgive one another. Make lots of memories and keep them in your heart. Let the memories become a priceless gift.
Kaye Steadman lives in Chickamauga. She is a storyteller and author of the book, “My Name’s Not Verly”. She can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on FaceBook.