As I bow out of http://www.Operationshoebox’s awesome committee and become a loyal friend in the background,
I thought I should jot down a few thoughts about this cause.
I first got involved, when I offered ten copies of “The Web of Silence” for some teenage Christmas boxes.
After the first glimpse of 100s of beautifully wrapped boxes, each with a name tag, in a huge sorting hub, I was hooked. My daughter Kirsten was with me and it was the start of a long and fruitful journey for both of us. I remember feeling as if I had landed in the Elves workshop and wouldn’t have been surprised if Father Christmas had poked his head around the corner.
The Christmas parties for the children brought even more amazement. To see kids enjoying the Christmas spirit, entering into the games, licking their ice creams and reaching for a piece of divinely inspired cake (thanks Charlie’s bakery) was enough to make my eyes prick 🙂
The christmas tree and Father Christmas (thanks Darren) handing out each present to a delighted child, must be one of my most treasured memories. I’ll always keep those faces of pure joy, in my heart and when I’m feeling blue, they’re enough to jolt me out of my indulgent self.
To see a child pulling the ribbon of a beautifully wrapped Christmas box, filled with carefully chosen gifts and sometimes poems,is one of life’s defining moments. Each box for is made up with the particular child’s special requests in mind and every effort is made to include one or two gifts of choice. We’ve even swopped items of clothing that are too big or too small. (Actually we sent Kirsten LB racing off in her Tata, to swop the clothing and get back in time to hand it over!)
So what am I trying to say? Well, I know that I cannot possibly change lives by waving a magic wand or handing over a beautiful box, once a year. But I do know that I may change a child’s perception of Christmas and the world. Perhaps that memory of something good, will nourish him or her in the darkest hours and just maybe a child will believe that there is still good in the world, in amongst the hardships he or she is expected to bear. What do you remember about your childhood? In amongst many painful things I remember, I also remember Father Christmas (my own dad) arriving on the train at Fountains Circle, Pretoria and handing out Christmas gifts to all the children gathered on the lawn. One by one we were called up and when my name was called I was swept away by the magic of the moment. Me? Father Christmas brought me a present? The world seemed amazingly special.
So no, I can’t wave away all the hardship but I can create a memory that could manifest a better future in a child’s life. I’ll keep on trying anyway, one child at a time 🙂
To the 2015 Operationshoebox committee, I salute you for the goodness you’ll bring.
A loyal friend forever,