Ephesians 5:33b: And the wife should respect her husband.
Respect is his primary need, his deepest desire.

I Put My Followers First

Friday, December 24, 2010

Appreciation Is Essential

It has been a tough economic year in the Cohen household.  I was laid off in April and Bruce's hours were cut from 40 to 3 per week.   Meager would define Christmas 2010.   

But, we are both "grownups" and able to handle those little disappointments.   We could live without all the ribbons, without all the tags.  We could live without packages, boxes or bags.

Okay, the truth.   I was depressed.  Terribly. 

I avoided decorating for Christmas until I just couldn't take it any more.  

Little by little I brought things out of storage.  But I would not put up the 7-foot artificial tree this year. 

"Too much trouble," I told my husband. 

Silently, though, I had already decided.  "Such a big tree should not overshadow the limited number of presents to lay beneath it."   And the darker thought, farther back in the dark recesses of my mind, was whether there would be anything at all to open on Christmas morning. 

But then a few small gifts began to arrive from our family and friends out of town.  My spirits were brightened but I did not believe I needed a tree.  I justified myself.  My mother has had Christmas for decades without a tree and she enjoys her holidays quite fine.  I decided that I had reached "that age".

And then, God inspired some very special people and we were blessed by their generosity. 

With the cash we had received, Bruce set out on his own to buy his wife a Christmas present.   He left the house for the 9:30am bus on Christmas Eve Eve.  Two days to go and he was going to shop.

Please, let it suffice to tell you that this is new for him.  He is a convert from Judaism, suffering from a communication disorder post-stroke.  Shopping for presents is not something he does without great stress and fear.  He has gone out each Christmas since our marriage in 2005 with his mother-in-law or another friend in tow.  It has been a "huge dot deal" to overcome his fears about the whole ordeal.  And it is so touching to watch him try.

Yet, this year he decided to tackle the task alone.  Whether that was truly a free choice or a circumstance, I do not know.  But he left early and shopped.  He came home hours later with a large plastic bag from Pier One Imports (good sign) and stood staring at the empty space where the Christmas tree should be.

"I don't know what to do."  His face was so forlorn.  He had learned that presents go under the tree but where do they go when there is no tree?

"You can hide them."  I suggested a few hiding places but he was not convinced that hiding them was the right idea.   

He finally agreed, trying to hide the disappointment on his face.  I could put them in the steamer trunk with the other packages we'd received from out of town.  He was satisfied with the solution but he was not pleased.

When I got into the trunk this morning to hide the gifts I had purchased for him, I could not help but notice that the Pier One Imports bag held gift-bagged-and-tissue-concealed presents.   

Wrapped?   For me!

He had handled the wrapping and presentation himself.  This was bigger than big.  It was grander than grand.  This was every wife's Christmas dream wrapped up and handed to little old me.   

This was the kind of moment that deserved a monumental display of appreciation.   My one-handed-man had conquered gift-wrapping!    

It almost made me cry.  

Well, I did cry.

He had conquered wrapping and I had hidden his efforts away in the trunk.   

I devised a plan.

When Bruce left again this morning to meet his new "sponsee" at an AA meeting, I went immediately to work.   Three hours later I had finished.

I think his gifts deserve to be showcased beneath the Christmas tree.  

Don't you think?

Merry Christmas everyone! 

I testify that Jesus lives and loves each of us.   He is aware of every circumstance and mindful of every need.   I have been poignantly reminded of that fact - once again. 


Crystal Mary said...

Oh your poor hubby and he did so well. I am so glad you made up for it and he would have though you worked it all out like that from the beginning...It looks beautiful and I pray it thrilled him.
I didn't feel to put up the tree this year. My daughter did though and she made it all so lovely. My other sweet daughter always has the memory of loosing a little boy on Christmas eve twelve years ago. She never speaks of it, and has a mighty faith, yet has recieved many knocks in life. God Bless you all this Christmas with health, love, peace amd joy. xxxx
Crystal Mary

Tylaine said...

Beautiful. Everything you write is so beautiful and touching. How special of your husband to do that for you and how special of you to do that for your husband. You two are so blessed to have eachother. Thankyou for touching and inspiring my life in progress.

42N said...

I too have been misplaced workwise due to this recession. Its trying at times - a few friends of mine are also without jobs at the moment too. Here's to a much better 2011!!

Valerie said...

Sorry about the work situation! It's hard any time of year, but you definitely feel it at Christmas. What a sweet thing your husband did. :)
I saw you on the followers list at Mormon Mommy Blogs and popped over here and had a nice visit at your blog.

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Can I get an Amen?