Monday, December 23, 2013

TAKE MY SHIRT/THE JOY OF GIVING


While I was in Florida, I learned something neat about my sister Charlene. 


Charlene and I at a roadside picnic on the way to the Keys. 
A while back she had been in a store and started to feel ill. She desperately wanted to get out of the store but was behind a young woman in the check out line and hemmed in by the line of people behind her. 

It seems the young lady didn't have enough money for her purchases, so she would take something out of the bags to take off the bill, then change her mind and put that back  only to take something else out, only to again change her mind and put it back. 

This went on for several minutes. In the bag, out of the bag, in the bag, out of the bag.  Charlene eventually let her panic get the better of her and she loudly chastised the woman, which did get the line moving but she was met with some cold looks by those around her.

She felt awful about her outburst when she finally got out of the store.  She realized she had missed the perfect opportunity to do something good and to have shown some grace. She could have very easily  offered to pay the difference for the young woman.  That would have helped the young woman, given her own karma a boost and she wouldn't have carried the guilt that obviously still preyed on her conscience. 

While in the Keys one evening, we went to a grocery store and were stopped at the entrance by a senior lady who was working the front door passing out flyers. I quickly explained I wasn't local and dismissed the lady. Charlene stayed a bit longer and was more gracious in her explanation as to why we wouldn't be interested.

The woman enjoyed her conversation with Charlene and  I heard her compliment my sister on her blouse.  Later when I was returning the cart, the lady didn't recognize me and approached once more with flyers in hand. I explained again I was from Arkansas and not local. 

"Oh, you are one of the sisters on vacation. Hope you are having a wonderful time.  Tell your sister I really liked her blouse, especially how be-jeweled it is."

I did just that when I got back to the car.  Charlene who was in the back seat asked Jan not to pull out yet. We heard rustling in the back seat as Charlene took off her blouse and put on a sun shirt she had handy. She then carefully folded the blouse and had Jan drive up to the store front where she presented the blouse to the lady. 

I wish I had taken a picture of the expression on that woman's face. First total jaw dropping shock, disbelief, then joyful delight. Charlene really made that woman's day. Pretty sure any damaged karma Charlene carried was repaired that night. I had no doubt that the woman would pay that act forward.  

Out side of my brother-in-law Tom, I had never seen anyone actually take a shirt off their back to give to another. Charlene was the first ever I saw give one to a total stranger. 

I had all ready been proud of her for deeply regretting her original out burst towards the first young woman. The original remorse showed her true character but the "shirt off her back" move, cemented my admiration. Way to go Sis.  

Has a friend or family member surprised you with a truly generous act? Maybe it was you who gave in to the moment to give or equally as wonderful, to have received such a spontaneous gift. 

Here's wishing all of you a wonderful Holidays.  May the Season's  spirit fill you with warmth, a generous heart and good cheer.    

40 comments :

  1. What a great reminder to all of us- what a wonderful world this would be if we could all turn off our snark button and just be KIND to one another.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a lovely story, Patti....And so in the spirit of the Season, which is about true giving. I've never seen anyone give someone the shirt off their back, but I do feel I have seen some true acts of kindness done anonymously---no fan fare, just doing something with such generosity of spirit and so right from the heart, that it was deeply deeply moving.
    Have a Very Very Happy Christmas, my dear....I know you miss your dear 'Mighty'---and that is so very hard, even more so at the Holidays.....Sending you Big Hugs, my dear.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That story is enough to charm the socks off anyone!
    Have a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You must be very proud of your sister. While we can't all give the shirt off our back, certainly we can all take a moment to listen to someone.

    Merry Christmas Patti.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A beautiful story and perfect for the season--a lovely post, Patti! Merry Christmas and a happy 2014 to you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sometimes regretting an action can cause me to rethink my approach to a situation. Your sister learned her lesson and not only didn't repeat it, she gave with such generosity to a complete stranger! How cool is that? I like to give presents when they are not expected, but I've never given someone the shirt off my back! Maybe I'll try it now. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. That was really nice. Merry Christmas! Ho! Ho! Ho!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great story just in time for Christmas. I know you must have had a lovely time in Florida. My husband does thing like that, I'm always a little late getting around and know I have missed opportunities.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I can't tell anything nice I have done...it would ruin my reputation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a wonderful post, one that really shows the spirit of the season. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a wonderful story, patti. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Why am I not surprised a bit! You are a giver as well, in ways you probably don't even realize. How many thousands of times have you Taken The Time to read a post and make a comment. You listen in your way, and we are blessed by you...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've heard that expression a lot (give the shirt off the back) but never actually knew anyone who did it before. Hurray for your sister

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just last night our neighbors came over to visit. The 10-year-old told us she hoped she'd get a pocket knife for Christmas. Apparently this was a new item on her list! My husband disappeared into his office and returned with a pocket knife someone had recently given him, still in the box. The child was delighted!

    A few minutes later the 6-year-old boy said they were decorating their tree. I'd been given an ornament earlier in the day, a sparkly snowflake. I gave it to him.

    Such simple things, such pleasure!

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a great story sweet Patti. It is wonderful to hear happenings like this with most of the news we seem to hear of late being bad. I think spontaneous gifts to strangers are the best. The looks on their faces there are no words for. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. Hugs and have a Wonderful Christmas!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi there, I'm sure you sister made up BIGTIME for feeling so badly about the other decision she made. BUT--we are all human and we do things depending upon how we feel at the time... There are many times I am more generous than other times... That's just part of human nature I guess... BUT--the bottom line is to show kindness 'most' of the time. Right????

    Merry Christmas.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  17. Patti, this was a true heart warming story. Shows us all not only that you have a wonderful sister but there are second chances and we all need to pay it forward, whatever it is. Merry Christmas and thanks for this years worth of blogs, love them and you. Oma Linda

    ReplyDelete
  18. Terri,
    I know. I need that reminder also. Thanks.

    Naomi,
    Thank you my friend. Those are the best times when we can truly give.
    I know you and I both have a hole in our hearts this year but were both lucky to have had it filled so nicely when Mighty and Sweetie were part of our lives. Wishing you only the best this season and for 2014.

    smartcat,
    Aw, thanks lady. I know it did that to me when I saw it.

    Linda B,
    Yes I am, though I was before also. She is a keeper.

    Olga,
    Thanks so much. I truly wish the same back to you along with peace and comfort for 2014.

    Djan,
    To me when we regret an action, it means we stepped out of character for a bit.
    If you literally try that, make sure you have another shirt handy or at least are wearing a killer bra.

    Suzanne,
    Thank you, I thought so and back at ya.

    Inger,
    The timing was perfect. How nice you get to come home to someone so naturally nice.
    I've missed opportunities also.

    joeh,
    Ha, ha, you do have that reputation to live up to. Bet you aren't nearly as cranky as you advertise however. I'll keep quiet.

    Stephen,
    Thank you so much and sending those same sentiments right back at you.

    robin,
    Thank you so much and I am so happy your trip went well.

    Brighid,
    Aw, thank you so much. It has never been a chore but a pleasure.

    Manzi,
    I know, I had always heard that expression but until my BIL Tom did it for a friend and then my sister for a stranger, I just thought it was an exaggeration.

    Linda M.
    That is exactly what I am talking about. With simple gestures, you made two kids happy. Way to go.

    Maggie,
    I agree. Family or friends kind of expect those things, strangers don't and it means so much more. Thank you.

    Betsy,
    You are so right. There are times we are more in the mood for such actions. When we feel sick like she did the first time, puts a strain on our good nature. It is wonderful when we get a chance to make up for an earlier action.

    Linda W.
    You nailed it with the "second chance." When they are offered, we need to grab them and act like we wish we had originally. She did just that.
    Thank you so much for being such a great poster and follower.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Loved that story! And I would loved to have seen the lady's face when she gave her the shirt off her back! That is just priceless and you know that lady will be telling the story the rest of her life. Tell your sister all your blogger friends think she is just a sweetheart! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Heartwarming story. Merry Christmas blogger buddy.

    ReplyDelete
  21. While I was waiting at the seafood counter this morning I talked to an older lady who showed me a little tree someone had bought and given to her. She hoped she could find out who it was and thank them. She said recently she had paid part of the tab for another older lady in the check out line ahead of her. The other woman was so happy.
    I was impressed. It made me feel happy too. I may need to look into these random acts of kindness.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a wonderful thing to do, and a great reminder of how easy it can be to kind to someone.

    A couple of years ago, in the dead of winter, I came across a young walking. It was daylight but very cold, so I stopped and offered them a ride. They were so surprised, but grateful.

    It was a spur of the moment thing but I've never forgotten the feeling it gave me as well. I was driving in that direction anyway but their gratitude was a gift I'll never forget.

    Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a heart warming holiday story. We need more folks like your sister. Happy Holidays!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. That is a great story, and good on your sis. I can't think of anything at the moment, but if I do I'll come back and share it with you.

    Meanwhile I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. What a beautiful post . . . *still sobbing*. Thank You so much for sharing. Something that I hope to carry with me all through the year.

    God Bless You . . . and your sister.

    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
  26. Aunt Betsy,
    You brought up a good point. I wonder if that lady has a blog( hope the first one doesn't). Would love to read her reaction.
    Thank you and you just told her.
    I think so too.

    NCMountainwoman,
    Thank you. What a gift Blogger has been.
    We both have empty spots in our hearts this year. Peace to you, your husband and Lucy.

    Linda R.
    That is what I just love to hear. How sweet that her random act made the giant circle and returned to her. The greatest gift goes to the giver.

    Eileen,
    Wonderful. In this day when the headlines breed lack of trust of strangers, that was a wonderful gesture. And yes, the warmth kindness generates has a long shelf life.

    Muffy,
    I so agree. It sure would make reading the newspaper a lot more pleasurable. Have a wonderful Holidays.

    Joey,
    Aw, you do neat things all the time. You just love to cover them in fake cranky or humor. I'm on to you.
    Quite a storm coming your way. Stay safe and have a wonderful holidays.

    Princess Lazee,
    Welcome to TNS and so glad you enjoyed my Sis's moment of grace. I see you are on Google + which I haven't tackled yet. Perhaps next year.
    Love you name.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Pretty cool nice story. Love to see those things. Motivates to me want to do the same. Merry Christmas and all the best in 2014.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hmmmm... I know my son recently told us that he and some of his other student friends doing research in Bangladesh wanted to do something worthwhile before they left. They pooled some money together (we added to the pot) and the group bought food, toiletries and cooking implements to hand out to beggars. Jon says it was wonderful to see all the smiles. Halfway around the world, we were able to share in the smiles. It was a wonderful feeling.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Forgot to tell you how much I loved your story about Charlene. You're both wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is without doubt my favorite story of the Christmas Season. I have always been a selfish child but being married to Ron, little by little, I have become more generous. He is one who would give the shirt off his back. From now on I shall be sure to wear something appropriate under a special blouse so I can simply take it off at any given moment and hand it to the person right there on the spot if the need arises:)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Thanks for all the wonderful posts!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Lovely story Patti, it is so easy to get things wrong, or react badly to people when we are tired, stressed, or unwell, but it is lovely to learn from this and put things right when we can.

    We were listening to a wonderful production of A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) on Christmas Day when we visited my parents. Being very tired at the time, I fear that I did sleep through some of it, but it was lovely to see the transformation of Scrooge from a mean and nasty little man, to someone full of generousity and fun!

    Thank you for the joy, fun, naughtiness, thoughtfulness, and wisdom that you share through your lovely blog. You have been a real ray of sunshine for so many of us.

    Happy Christmas and New Year

    P, L, and NS xxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  33. Randy Warner
    Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I agree, that is something I will work on also.

    Kay,
    Wow, not only is your son a handsome fellow, but he has a great heart also. Good genes will tell every time.
    Thank you.

    Grannie Annie,
    Ron sounds like a real keeper and a great example.
    Ha ha, good under garments or a back up shirt are a must.

    smartcat,
    Aw, thanks so much and back at ya.

    Peter,
    Thank you so much for those lovely words. That ranks up with one of my best presents this year.
    Hoping you , Laura and NS had a wonderful Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
  34. You always have the most interesting posts! I have a sweet aunt that has literally given the shirt off her back.
    Hope you had a nice Christmas! Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  35. So it's not just an expression. Actually, I did once give someone a long cardigan--it was a young woman who was not aware she had a blood stain on the back of her pants. Unfortunately, it was a postal sweater, so it's possible she remained just as embarrassed. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  36. My brother in law has a box with zip-lock baggies in the backseat of his car. He hands them out to the homeless people at the traffic lights holding up a sign for food or a job or anything. He has
    female and male baggies and they usually contain some underwear, socks, soap, a thoothbrush and a comb, some crackers, chips, trailmix and cookies and a few free coupons for a burger at a fast food chain. It about floored me when I witnessed this for the first time!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Cheryl,
    Thanks you so much and how delightful that you also have such a special relative.

    Murr,
    Ok, that is really funny, especially since most of my family either once or now works for the USPS.

    James and Brigitta,
    Thank you so much for stopping by and for that really great account about your bil. What a neat guy he is and his way is much more effective and thoughtful than just handing out money. I am sure the recipients were delighted and grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  38. What a wonderful story, Patti. That's the kind of thing my spouse does .

    ReplyDelete
  39. Patti your sister is as gracious and lovely as you are both inside and out.
    I loved reading this story and will share it with my grand babies and friends because there is never enough kindness in this world of ours.
    I remember one time eating at a tea room with a girlfriend that a woman complimented me several times over a bracelet I was wearing. When leaving I walked past her table and gave her the bracelet. She was speechless as was my friend.
    It made me feel good and like your sister I know that one day this lady will probably pass on a random act of kindness too.
    I need to do more myself.
    Thank you for sharing this story and I love the picture too. Your both so beautiful.
    Glad I came by tonight. I miss blogging. Too much has been keeping me from it and my computer has seen its last days so now I have to break down and buy one.
    Wanted though to come by and wish you a very Happy New Year.
    Love ya
    Maggie

    ReplyDelete
  40. TB,
    Thanks TB and how nice to have a resident nice person. Sounds like a keeper.

    Maggie,
    I have missed you gal and was hoping it was "busy" keeping you silent. Hope you get back in the posting habit for 2014.
    Have a super coming year my friend.

    ReplyDelete