I love Mondays! I love Mondays! I love Mondays! What I focus on expands so…… I am practicing expanding my love for Mondays! I had to share a quick post about a tiny portion of my morning with you. I work for a non-profit organization who is responsible for placing Angel Trees throughout cities nationwide. I, however, work in a department processing grants & contracts for funding throughout the Texas Division. It’s not rocket science, but we are two totally different ends of the spectrum. For some reason, most complaint calls regardless of the nature, are forwarded to our department. I believe it is because we are very resourceful & truly dedicated to helping humanity. I say “we” loosely because my boss is the best person for running interference.
With that being said, this morning I received a call from a dear, sweet lady who was extremely concerned & overly frustrated regarding an “Angel” she adopted from one of our many DFW Angel Trees. Immediately I thought this call should be forwarded to someone more equipped to handle this situation. Then she told me her dilemma. The child is 7 yrs. old & his “want” was a hand-held game. She quickly explained almost every Angel she viewed on the tree wanted a MP3 player except this one. She continued to tell me how guilt ridden she is because she has looked at EVERY store possible & can’t find a DS or other hand-held game consoles. Of course she interjected the obstacles of her disabilities, traffic, busy stores, the price, extra games & how she couldn’t stand the fact that this 7 yr. old wouldn’t have his wish if she couldn’t find it. The words frustrated, guilt, overwhelmed, & guilt, kept coming up in conversation. Did I mention guilt? As I listened to her, I carefully wanted to help bring her back into the true focus of Christmas & the goodness she displayed for adopting an Angel. Once she finished explaining, I thanked her for picking an Angel off one of our trees & emphasized how much I appreciated her supporting our organization, but most of all blessing the life of a child. Guilt was again mentioned & I explained that guilt was her choice. This was nothing we remotely wanted her to feel or experience. I suggested other gifts similar to hand-held games & explained the child was 7. I confided, from my experience, my own children would make out their lists & there were more times than not, when they didn’t receive all on the list. I inquired about her children & how she personally handled this. I suggested other shopping venues that offered a bundle which included games & console. Most of all I listened & reminded her the guilt & frustration was not the reason for the season. The joy of giving should be the dominate force, not guilt. I mentioned the frustration & anxiety she feels right now is not the expectation for my organization as we would not want it to hinder her from adopting another Angel next year. She quickly explained this was her yearly practice. I attempted to help her see what she would feel next year if she continued this emotional roller coaster ride instead of enjoying the reason she has this practice. At every turn, I tried to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Another very hard subject was to discuss the following months ahead if the child did receive a game console requiring new games. Could the parent supply additional games or would they be at the mercy of yet another opportunity to provide them? Was there something just as enjoyable that wouldn’t require a financial commitment to maintain? There is cyclic behavior we are attempting to break & something as simple as a game forces this behavior to continue. I wasn’t trying to damper the spirit of giving, but offering an alternate solution that would also assist the parent.
Our conversation continued as I helped her understand her heart & motives were pure, & again thanking her for participating in this beautiful seasonal opportunity. The frustration & guilt were robbing her of the pure joy she deserved to experience as the reflected what the child would experience upon opening his gift. I shared the indescribable feeling I treasure from years of watching children during Angel Tree distribution times. Working with volunteer fire department staff, as they lovingly joined their hearts to ours, is a priceless moment in time never to be taken from me! Seriously as I write these words, tears fill my eyes as I can see the precious faces of children elated with joy & happiness. That is something I wish everyone could personally experience. I assured her whatever she decided upon, her chosen Angel would have a smile & a warm feeling of gratitude in his little heart knowing he was special enough for someone to pick him. Isn’t this what we want to accomplish?
We laughed & by the end of the conversation, she felt at peace & was very thankful I helped her. You know what? I’m glad too. I realized I could have forwarded the call, it would have gone to someone’s voicemail [this is our busiest time of year & everyone directly or indirectly involved with Angel Tree Distribution is crazy busy], & her emotions would have escalated. Or she could have gotten in touch with someone who had dealt with a million calls by 10am. Quite possibly this person would not have been prepared or equipped to re-frame the spiraling emotional minefield this person felt. I was never equipped to understand or intervene with this method until I began learning & growing personally through LIFE, an amazing leadership & personal development organization. When you take the time to pattern interrupt a situation, diffuse it at the root cause, resolve can then be accomplished. The initial heart motive is illuminated, as in this case, the pure joy of giving shines as that faithful star shined ever so brightly from the heavens leading Kings & shepherds to our greatest gift.
Jesus is the reason for the season!
Merry Christmas & Blessings for a prosperous New Year!