Last night, believe it or not, I attended my first holiday “Cookie Exchange.” There were lessons to be learned there.
I live in a small subdivision of about twenty-five brick and mortar homes. Smoke swirled and curled above all of the chimney tops, looking like a Rockwell painting as I walked by. Crunching snow underfoot, I carried my grandmother’s pink depression platter of lemon-glazed cookies, warm from the oven into the freezing cold.
‘Holly’ answered her door. A perfect name for this time of year, don’t you think? She’s a darling friend whose baby girl slept in pink heart pajamas. A white-painted crib hushed in the darkened room nearby. Several women sat at the dining room table eating Holly’s native Spanish food while nibbling cookies dipped in white chocolate, covered in walnuts, or rolled in coconut flakes. They were all so good!
As in any gathering of women, we ended up talking more about our lives of the day than about the food sitting in front of us. My ‘single-mom’ friend sat close to me. She attended my Halloween carnival with her son who lives with Down’s Syndrome. She didn’t speak directly of him, but we could all see it in her face. The lines of tiredness, the manner in which she wiped her brow. It was the way she exhaled while eating after each small bite. The relief she sucked in simply by being out….
Another neighbor was there from across the street. She was the mother of a tenacious tadpole of two. She arrived a bit late to Holly’s house, ringing the bell, once then twice. Her son barely let her out the door. With all his young might he clung to her walker crying in the middle of a “meltdown.” This mother looked a bit frazzled and tried to catch her breath. A brilliant woman, she is a nuclear pharmacist by trade. She lives with Muscular Dystrophy. Later, sitting around the table, she spoke in quiet tones. How grateful she was for friendship, for us! Not once did she mention the cookies or the food. Daily life and the trials of such often prevented her from getting out unless it was going off to work. If she wasn’t careful, life would simply pass her by.
I can relate to these women, these friends and neighbors of mine. The ones who live with chronic conditions and of course, the ones who do not. For those that do, we know the good and the bad. The days we are tired and the celebrations that we have. The lessons learned can not be taught in any other way. God whispers them to us from heaven above in His own quiet way. Nothing in the world would ever be traded for the lives we live. I know this to be true. God has a plan. It’s here for us to do.
Thank you for yesterday, today, and for tomorrow too.