A few days ago, I noticed that there was a box of old toys sitting at the end of a driveway in our neighborhood. I'd passed several times and never really thought about what was in it until one day I had the realization that someone had made a conscious effort to go through a child's belongings and decide what should be discarded and what should be kept.
Was it an effort to make room for the new things that would be coming wrapped gayly in shiny christmas themed paper sitting under an equally gayly decorated tree?
Was it because said child needed more space in their room or was it because that same child had lost interest in these "old" toys and no longer loved or played with them? Was it just because?
A few days later I noticed that several of the toys had been taken from the box. No doubt, the sidewalk gods had visited and pleased with the offereings, took them to a new home to a new child. New toys to play with. Quite probably a gift that would be wrapped gayly in shiny christmas themed paper sitting under an equally gayly decorated tree and opened by a child filling the room with squeals of delight and love for their new toy.
They would hug it and love it and pet it and name it...
Then I thought what life must be like for that child and those parents. To be in a place in life in which you must pull items from a trash pile, clean them up the best you can and offer them to your child for christmas must be disheartening. And for the child to know that this is not a new toy because there's no box or tag must pierce a heart just enough to bring a drop of blood.
To borrow a line from a song, "Love is the rock we throw ourselves against." Well, this is that parent's and that child's rock. Love picked that toy up. Love cleaned it up. Love will wrap it up and put it under that tree and love will light that child's face up and heal that pierced heart.
I'm not sad for them. It took greater fortitude to stop their vehicle, get out and rummage through that box risking derision and pity from those of us who might have seen them. It took courage. More courage than I have. That parent isn't driven by the latest and greatest item that Target or Toys R Us tells us we must have. They aren't spending the night in a line outside a store to purchase whatever the current craze might be. They are too busy dealing with life.
I believe that child will be just as happy with a used, castoff toy that their parent took the time to rescue and clean up for them. I believe that child will grow up understanding what giving is supposed to be about.
I wonder if the rest of us do.