I had three experiences today while I did some Christmas shopping. As I dropped off the present for the woman, Jean, I saw a man in the parking lot with no legs. He walks around town in shorts, with artificial legs. He doesn't hide them. They end in his running shoes. What must he have gone through? But he is cheerful, and as I say, he walks everywhere, unashamed and unstopped. Then I ran into a woman, an acquaintance, who has had cancer for what must be ten years now. Our children are the same age. She is very religious and has never given up going to church throughout this time. And then, in the local kitchen store, a man I didn't know was buying a great set of Cuisinart cookware. I commented on it, and he said he got it for his son who wants to be a "gourmet cook." Then he mentioned he bought it for his wife last year, and then he told me she has cancer and her chemo which they thought was going well hasn't gotten it all, and in one place it has spread, so back she goes for further treatment.
All these encounters gave me pause in the midst of this joyous season, reminding me that there are people who cope, people who are suffering, people who are still out shopping. I was humbled, and moved so deeply.