My Christmas Story

It was the cat that caught my eye.

The yellow cat wandering around the back of the car amid suitcases and duffle bags, looking for a comfortable place to settle down for a nap.

The car was packed from floor to ceiling with the belonging of the occupants.

A man and a woman strapped into their seatbelts, leaning on each other for warmth sleeping the sleep of the exhausted.

They like the car and the cat, had clearly seen better times.

Both of them were drawn in their appearance. The man was missing several teeth and they were both extremely thin. By now, we all know what homelessness looks like. It’s pretty hard to miss with the economic climate of the past four years.

Examples of grinding poverty and desperation unfold in front of us every day. So much so, that it’s possible to become jaded to the existence of those in need.

But you know what struck me?

The fact that these two people in the most desperate of circumstances, sitting in a car with all of their belongs and their pet on Christmas Eve---with a window that wouldn’t roll up; clung to each other, even in sleep.

Not for warmth, but in a “we’re in this together” type of embrace.

It moved me.

The recent challenges and problems that had been occupying my thoughts for the past few weeks took a back seat to the scene I was witnessing.

More importantly it gave me perspective.

Clearly I’m blessed to have a roof over my head and people that love & care for me. Yet that couple reminded me that despite the fact I have no gifts under my tree I am always being given the continuous gift of gratitude.

I had been taught a lesson near the corner of Old Lake Park and 53rd Street.

Money isn’t plentiful, but I gave them what I thought could help their situation.

And feed their cat.

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