Christmas, A Time for Giving

By now many of you know that one of very favorite things to do is read.  I’ve been an avid reader all my life.  But I find that the kinds of books that I read change somewhat with the seasons.  In summer, for instance, I like a good “beach read”.  You know the kind of book I mean:  light, entertaining, and not requiring too much thought.  But as the weather becomes cooler and turns down right cold, I can really get into some serious reading,  something with some weight to it.  Like putting on my winter coat, or snuggling under a heavy blanket.

I’m a hugely sentimental person, but even more so at this time of year.  I feel so incredibly lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life, but come December and Christmas I think a lot about how fortunate we are to have all that we have when so many others may not have even the basic needs that we take for granted;  food, shelter, clothing.

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The book that I have just finished reading brought all this vividly to mind.  The title of the book is An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski, and it tells the story of an 11 year old boy who is a panhandler in New York City and a busy sales executive, who met just by chance.  That unlikely meeting had a profound effect on each of them.  The boy is Maurice, who asked her, Laura, for some spare change because he was hungry.  She walked right on by without stopping,  but halfway down the block, she did stop, turned and went back to him, and said, “I won’t give you change, but I will take you to get something to eat.”  That was the beginning of their relationship that continued for many years.

An ancient Chinese Proverb says “An invisible thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance.  The thread my stretch or tangle. But it will never break.”  The two people in this book were destined to meet and in doing so, each of their lives was changed.  They continued to meet on a regular basis, having dinner together on most occasions.  Food, cooking and meals are prominent features throughout the book and in these instances Laura teaches Maurice  many things he never had the opportunity to learn because of his chaotic and dysfunctional living conditions.  Getting to know his situation makes her reflect on her own growing up years, often chaotic because of an abusive alcoholic father.

The stories of these two people are often heartbreaking, yet illustrate so well the power each of us has to elevate someone else’s life and how our own life is enriched in the process.

A portion of the royalties from this book is being donated to NoKidHungry, a campaign that aims to end childhood hunger in America, by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day. This campaign has my wholehearted support, so in honor of so many wonderful people in my life and in thanks for all you, my wonderful readers, I will be making a donation to this campaign for Christmas this year.

I urge you all to read this book, and about the NoKid Hungry organization and the work they are doing.  You will never forget it.

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