‘Tis Epiphany, January 6. The final day of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Some semi-random reflections . . .
Pay It Forward with a Twist
While cross-country skiing between Christmas and New Year’s I approached the ski hut to buy two $15.00 passes, one for myself, one for Laura. I had $30 even, no cards, no other cash.
The lady in the hut said, “It’s $32.46, with tax.” I said, “This is what I’ve got. Can I bring you the $2.50 tomorrow?” The payment thing was computerized. Maybe it couldn’t handle anything but the exact amount.
I saw her thinking. She said, “Tell, you what, I’ve had a crappy day. To make me feel better here are two comp tickets.”
I said, “Well, thanks . . . I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a crappy day. What happened?”
“Well, it was really okay until about two customers ago. Some guy being a real jerk.”
Handing me the $30 back, she said, “Buy yourself a stiff drink.” I said, “how about if I give you this, and you buy yourself a stiff drink.” “Naw. Have fun.”
“Paying it forward,” means that having received some kindness you extend a kindness to someone else down the road, maybe a stranger, maybe not.
The lady in the ski hut offered a variation on the theme. Having taken some crap from a jerk, she reversed the flow. Doing a kindness of which I was on the receiving end.
I liked her creativity. I also liked her frankness. “To make me feel better, I’m going to give you comp tickets.”
A little epiphany of grace.
Death and the Holidays
As a pastor I noticed how often there were multiple deaths in the congregation right around or shortly after the holidays. Used to kind of bug me. After a raft of Christmas services, I was ready for a break. But people died. In multiples. What’s up with that?
It seems there is some research verifying a correlation between the holidays and the morality rate.
Medical people attribute this to holiday stress, winter weather, exposure to sick people in waiting rooms and public areas.
My theory was that people saw Christmas as a milestone, one to reach. Then they could let go.
Not sure who’s right. Or that it matters. But death does always mark the holidays too, and perhaps more painfully. So keep an eye out, and heart open, for the grieving, even as the new year begins.
I really liked today’s UCC Daily Devotional from my good friend, Tina Villa.
Her writing is wonderfully direct and laconic.
In case you missed it, here’s a link.
Here’s Tina on the relief people feel post-holidays:
“That’s why many people are relieved this week. Now we can get back to regular, imperfect life, with its mismatched or missing people, places, and things. Now is when the Wise Men come to see Jesus, the Savior of the world.”
So, friends, a blessed Epiphany to you. Now back to our “regular, imperfect” lives.