I thought yesterday, what I’d do if I lived in the city where they say trees are going for hundreds of dollars this year.
I passed by the little lot on the corner that always has trees and wondered if I’d choose to do without if a tree for Christmas cost a couple hundred.
I would, I thought…I hoped, do without.
The church where I’ve always bought my tree didn’t sell them this year. I got my tiny tree at the grocery store, both of my children with me; so excited, I plopped my “baby tree” in the back of my car on that Saturday we spent together.
It was $29. I found an old basket and sat it on my favorite old blue-bird blue chair, made a star by tying two ornaments together with twine and it’s just sweet and simple.
I love it.
I pulled another tree from the attic; I can’t lie, it’s the top section of an old artificial tree and I’ve smushed it down into an old brass planter. It wobbled at first; but, I put the base into an old mason jar. Walla! Steady.
It’s so pretty.
I add gold ribbon and grapevine garland and I have another Christmas tree.
Yesterday, driving past the Christmas tree lot and thinking about the big city trees, I had just a few minutes for errands before going to the shelter.
The Sunday School class at the big historic church invited us as guests to their Christmas party, myself and two women, one homeless, the other formerly homeless.
We’d been asked to speak, to tell their stories of Nurture Home. Me, to tell my story of details, budgets, numbers, mission and outcome.
Theirs, how it was to be homeless and how it is for them now.
Thirty or so distinguished and mannerly faces looking towards them as they told strangers of being homeless, expected to die, trapped in abuse and yet, determined to know life differently.
They made a point of mentioning me, “Miss Lisa”, as one who pushed them, one who listened, one who they are grateful for.
They answered questions about determination, they said they were strong because they chose to be strong and because God has better for them and they trust Him, believe it this time.
They talked about God in personal ways and I’d like to say I noticed the faces of others in the room.
I was listening to eloquent stories with details I didn’t know before and I was overwhelmed by poise and confident expressions detailing their being without a safe place called home.
On life support because of alcohol and choosing not to return to the street, instead finding shelter. Afraid to leave and afraid to stay…afraid of most everything, in fear of being killed, she left with her daughter and came to us, to a shelter.
And now, having dinner in the Methodist parlor of a church.
I lie quietly late that night. I’d dropped her off at the shelter, unloading donations. I left them there, both women, the one who now has a house, a car and job wanted to linger for a little bit. The house warm and full, she wanted to know them all.
I lie quietly that night. I’d turned into our drive, my husband had the porch light on, the red of berries on front door wreath shining against pretty green. The “baby tree” was lit, the house warm, the dogs waiting for me.
Quiet that night, my husband asked, “What’s on your mind? ” I answered, “Nothing, I’m praying.”
I drifted off to sleep after prayers of gratitude for things I was reminded of having and with figuring out getting a tree, a Christmas tree for the women, the children, at the shelter.
There needs to be a tree for Christmas in the place they call home.
I’ll take one tomorrow; big, not baby.