Uniquely Gifted

By Diana Stark

Uniquely Gifted

“Why didn’t I just offer to make cupcakes?” I asked myself as I pulled into the craft store’s parking lot. For reasons I still didn’t understand, I’d volunteered to plan the craft for my son’s school Christmas party. I am not crafty. And the party was tomorrow.

I’d spent time on Pinterest, hoping to find a craft that kindergartners would enjoy. I found plenty of ideas, but they were all way too crafty for me. Did I mention the party was tomorrow?

That’s how I ended up in the craft store parking lot on the day before the party. I knew it was a long-shot, but I was hoping to find some pre-made craft kits for the party.

I was so wrapped up in my mission that I hardly noticed the sound of a bell ringing. I walked past a woman who smiled and wished me a Merry Christmas. I barely glanced at her as I returned the sentiment.

I entered the store and started looking for the craft kits. After wandering around for a while, I found them, but there wasn’t much left. After all, I was looking at Christmas craft kits on December 20th. I found something that would work, but there weren’t enough kits for the whole class. I asked a sales person, but of course, they didn’t have any more in the back.

I sighed and wondered what I was going to do now. I went out to my car, but I didn’t drive away. I could still hear the bell ringing, and I thought about the woman. She was volunteering for the Salvation Army, and she was outside on one of the coldest days of the year.

I realized I couldn’t do anything about my situation, but I could improve hers.

I walked back to the store. “Can I bring you a cup of coffee or anything?”

I asked.

“Oh, I’d love a hot chocolate,” she said. “Thank you so much!”

I headed to the grocery store to pick up the drink. I was barely out of the car when I heard another bell ringing. This time, it was a man raising money for the Salvation Army.

I smiled at him. “I came here to pick up a hot chocolate for the bell ringer at the craft store. Would you like something?”

“Coffee would be great. Thanks,” he said.

I went into the store and grabbed the drinks at the little café. I went back out and handed the man his coffee.

“Thank you for doing this,” he said.

I smiled. “It’s the least I can do for someone who is volunteering his time for such a worthy organization.”

“I sure appreciate your kindness.”

“Of course. You’re making the world a better place.”

His smile grew bigger. “So are you.”

I thought about my procrastination with my son’s Christmas party. “I wouldn’t say that, Sir.”

“You matter more than you think you do.”

It might sound silly, but tears sprung into my eyes at his words. “Thank you for saying that. Everyone needs to feel that they matter.”

He smiled. “That’s true.” He nodded toward the hot chocolate in my hands. “Go remind the lady at the craft store that she matters too. I know her, and she needs to hear it.”

I nodded, glad I’d put aside my own dilemma for these few minutes.

When I handed her the drink, the lady smiled and wrapped her hands around the cup. “Thank you so much. It is positively frigid today.”

“How long will you be out here?” I asked.

“Until 4 o’clock,” she said. “But I don’t mind. When my kids were little, we didn’t have much. I did the best I could, but the only Christmas presents they ever got were from the Salvation Army toy drive. They’ve done a lot for me, and now I have the chance to give back.”

“That’s great that you’re able to do that.”

 “Thank you again for the hot chocolate,” she said.

I looked her right in the eyes. “What you’re doing out here? It matters. You’re making a difference. You are giving other families the same hope that you were given. It’s important work.”

 She smiled through her tears. “That warmed me up even more than the hot chocolate. Thank you, Honey.”

I smiled and said good-bye. I was glad I’d gotten the chance to meet both of them. But on the way home, my worries over the party crept back in. I’d procrastinated, and now I had to come up with a great idea by tomorrow morning. It seemed unlikely at best.

When I arrived home, I saw that I had a voicemail from one of the other moms in Nathan’s class. “I know you volunteered to plan the craft for the kids’ party,” she said, “but I just found the cutest idea on Pinterest, and I was hoping, if you didn’t mind too much, if I could do it.”

If I didn’t mind? This was the best possible solution. I called her back and told her that I would love to turn the craft project over to her.

“Oh, and I signed up to bring cupcakes,” she said. “I really don’t know why. I hate to bake. Would you mind?”

I laughed and agreed to bring the cupcakes.

I hung up, relieved beyond reason.

And I realized that we all have gifts and talents, and no one’s is exactly the same.

That other mom is crafty, and I’m not. I like to bake, and she doesn’t.

I thought about the bell ringers with the Salvation Army, who had both given their time to help others.

I remembered the hot drinks I’d delivered. It was such a small gesture, but with it came the reminder that someone cared.

At Christmas, and always, we need to remember that we’re each uniquely gifted, and the purpose of our gifts is to help others. To remind them that they matter.

And sometimes, all it takes is a smile and a hot drink.

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    2 Responses to “Uniquely Gifted”

    1. Diana,
      Your story illustrates the true meaning of the holidays, sharing our gifts and talents with others. Very enjoyable read.

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