a poor woman’s hands

Posted: December 12th, 2011 | Filed under: life | Tags: , | 6 Comments »

She leaves work through the back door. Leaves the chatter of Christmas plans and lists. She’s dodged questions all day about her plans and what her children put on their lists. She’s not going to her work party because she doesn’t have anything to wear.

Her feet are aching from standing all day and the wind is a cold oppressor slapping her face like she doesn’t matter. She hides her hands in her coat sleeves with just a key sticking out to make the climb into her freezing car faster.

Her grocery store choices are in opposite directions. The expensive one is on her way home. Her fatigue wins and she pulls into the parking lot. Her ten dollar budget isn’t enough for the milk and peanut butter gluttons in her house. Food shouldn’t have to be so hard to come by.

She used to make cookies, candies, and pies to hug the holidays and all of it’s wrappings. They’re lucky to have a tree. What good is a tree that dwarfs the presents?

Why is this holiday so messed up? Who made the rules and why should kids think that Santa skips some houses while he overloads others?

She’s never believed in Santa. He’s not even part of her children’s lives at home, but it’s an unavoidable question in the hesitant dance of their eyes. Their excitement is touchable and they have no idea how hard it is on her.

She finishes her shopping, doubling her budget, and making her fight the guilt of overspending with the rebellion against being sorry for getting candy canes and fresh fruit.

Defiance clenches her jaw.ย “We can at least have candy canes.”

Almost like an immediate reprimand, she was back under the cruel thumb of the wind. Only this time, the bags carrying her guilt drug her hands out of her sleeves of safety. She imagined the bitter cold making them old and worn. A poor woman’s hands.

That was the day she began having ‘the talk’ with herself. ‘The Talk’ that she is going to have to come to terms with who she is. The poverty is going to age her faster than her heart. She has reached her entire life. She has stretched past her circumstances out of the determined belief that she will, one day, have the life she wants. She has pushed herself beyond every boundary life has put in front of her, and now she wonders, “For what?”

“The Talk” was to weaken her hope so that she won’t be so disappointed and sad all the time.

Oh, she’s sad. All the time sad.

She smiles, genuinely, though. She has things to be happy about and she’s good at finding them. They help her catch her breath while she rests for the next lunge. She counts her blessings: Her kids. Her love. They have a warm roof. They have clothes that still work. They have shoes that still fit. They’re healthy and clean.

They have peanut butter and candy canes.

These are such good, good things. They’re the little things made big.

So, “The Talk” isn’t winning. It can’t when she takes it one day at a time. She learns something on her drive home. She learns it’s the little things that get you through the day. Disappointment takes a very long time to completely consume you. Disappointment can’t eat you alive today.

It’s always ‘today’.

If you can counter disappointment with the little things enough to get through today, then you are one day better off than you were the day before.

It’s not much, but it will get her through today.



6 Comments on “a poor woman’s hands”

  1. 1 Mickey said at 9:51 am on December 12th, 2011:

    Ever since I had children I've always struggled with the idea of presents. I did not and do not want my children to think that's what Christmas is about. They are a little older now and ask for less and undserstand it's about the birth of Jesus our Saviour. Our church has a theme this Christmas; We want you to worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. I know we are that family that can afford to spend less and give more to families you are refering to in your blog. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 10:34 am on December 12th, 2011:

    I love that theme. Thanks, Mickey. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. 3 Jen Wagenmaker said at 11:11 am on December 12th, 2011:

    Bless you sister. Keep Dreaming Big! I see where He's taking you and your drive is contagious. We are living by faith this season but we are so so hopeful for what the Lord has in store.
    My recent post

  4. 4 Matt Logan said at 12:50 pm on December 12th, 2011:

    You know, I take from this a theme that hit me hard the other night after watching a foreign movie on netflix called "Aftershock". You never know what the person next behind or in front of you is going through… it's so easy to hustle through our to-do lists, get our planned items and head home without ever noticing anybody. It's like when Jesus was talking about the woman who was caught in adultery, "does anybody see this woman?". I wonder how often he whispers that in our ear in our day to day to lives. Do we actually see anybody… like the woman who just bought more than she could afford to keep Christmas at alive with a bleeding heart…

  5. 5 serenawoods said at 1:39 pm on December 12th, 2011:

    That last sentence stung my eyes.
    Thanks for getting it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 6 Diane said at 9:02 am on December 13th, 2011:


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