Like a kid-I am wide awake @ 3:30 a.m. on Christmas morning! Memories of Christmas’s long ago flooded my dreams……waking up with my sisters and brothers, sneaking quietly down the steps (although I am sure my parents always heard us!), plugging in the Christmas tree and checking out what was in our stockings. That was all we were allowed to touch till mom and dad got up many hours later! We usually curled up under the tree and fell asleep with visions of more that sugar plums dancing in our heads!
I can’t wait to smell the turkey cooking and mostly to turn on the oven…..it is cool this morning!!! So it really feels like Christmas for me this year-not only with the cool breeze blowing in my window and the gifts from great friends under the tree to be opened with John later but allow me to share a gift I gave yesterday where I received even more!
Our Anglican church we attend here on island gathered baked goods, fruit, juice for the elderly and small gifts for children to distribute yesterday. I arrived at the appointed time to meet whoever was helping out.
I waited. And waited and hoped I didn’t miss a change in plans! NO….just things going on island time!!
Almost 2 hours later we left with gifts bagged up and our list of who we were to deliver them to.
Pulling into our first stop feelings of shyness came over me. I know many of you won’t believe that….but what if they thought we were weird or didn’t receive our gifts or just took our gifts and closed their doors? That would have been ok but I wanted the chance to get to know them, to hear their story.
We probably looked like the Jehovah witnesses coming in full force-2 car loads of a couple of Bahamians and a lot of white foreigners!! =+)
However, I was not disappointed. As we exited our cars, a woman came out of her house asking who we were. Nevertheless, she welcomed us in even before hearing our answer. I was surprised to discover after being introduced to her daughter who was studying in California to be a doctor that I knew this family and had met this woman many years ago at our local post office and the inn where we first stayed on Long Island. Having the chance to now meet mummy was a blessed occasion for me!
Our next stop was to visit “Auntie Moodie”…..we drove up to a typical Bahamian homestead nestled in huge old trees and rocks.
Entering the darkened house after being in the bright sunlight I stumbled my way down a hallway to her bedroom where I came to understand the darkness. I met a woman who was not only blind with one leg but had a spirit that brightened the room and our hearts! After introducing ourselves, I made my way thru the crowd to kneel at her bedside and hold her hand as we asked if she could share with us a memory of Christmas long ago. Her eyes glowed with memories of riding her bicycle to work her farm ‘down north’ at the far end of the island. Let me explain that it takes at least half an hour to drive in our car these days what she rode on very bad or nonexistent roads years ago to go to work in a hot field and then ride back!! Her daughter explained she was not only a midwife on island years ago but also dressed the dead, washing them and putting on their Sunday best for burial the next day. She brought them into the world and helped many leave this world! She was very humble and would have never bragged about herself that way but when asked what was on her farm she excitedly exclaimed in a soft voice, ”corn, peas, pumpkin, potatoes, cane, watermelon, plantains, and cabbage.” Her daughter added, ”oh don’t forget about the sheep”
We continued our way north to visit families who walked us thru their gardens sharing beautiful plant names, how to care for them, and many who were shy and only offered their smiles to assure us they were blessed by our visit!
Driving home, my heart spilled over. I had a richness of meeting new friends, families and touched history and hearts. I know my heart was touched!
Another small joy for me as I made my way up and down the island yesterday was saying and hearing “MERRY CHRISTMAS”….here in the Bahamas they are outspoken about their faith. The public radio station every morning just before seven o’clock pauses to give God glory, thanks and praise for life and another day as scripture is shared……..I so love that!!!!